With Hurricane Issac now in the Gulf of Mexico, John Nelson—a user experience and mapping manager for data visualization company IDV Solutions—has released this stunning map that shows every hurricane and tropical storm for the past 150 years. We have featured John’s work on Inhabitat before in the past, most noticeably his Major US Fires Over The Past 11 Years visualization. 

hurricane issac, hurricanes, data visualisation, john nelson, NOAA, tropical storm

Using data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, who keep an archive of storm paths with wind speed, storm name, date and who constantly update and refine information for past events based on historical evidence and educated hunches, Nelson was able to call upon a goldmine of information.

Taking the data, he “slapped it onto a polar projection (looking up at Antarctica)” and showed the intensity of each hurricane via color coding.  In case you need a reference, the Americas are on the right, Asia is on the left; the storms plotted on the map grow brighter as their intensity increases.

He noted two things: That hurricanes “abhor the equator and fling themselves away from the warm waters of their birth as quickly as they can” and that detection has been much easier since satellite technology. Also the proportionality of storm severity looks to be getting more consistent year to year with the benefit of more data.

Other examples of Nelson’s unique approach to visual data and the planet’s natural phenomena include a map of the world’s earthquakes since 1898 and a map of the rise in U.S. wildfires since 2001.

To see a large, more detailed copy of the map, visit IDV Solutions Flickr page.

+ IDV Solutions

via NBC News