Did You See This?

What a Year in Weather Looks Like From Space

A satellite’s-eye view of 365 days of storms and sunshine.

The remarkable video above is a visualization of one year’s worth of weather data, captured from a ring of weather satellites stationed in geosynchronous orbit around the earth. The amazing in-depth data captured by the satellites is one thing; the cooperation that allows us to see the whole world’s weather at once is another. The satellites belong to the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites, or EUMETSAT, the U.S.A’s National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Japan Meterological Agency (JMA).

In the video, Mark Higgins of UMETSAT walks us through the year 2015, month-by-month. The northern hemisphere starts out covered with snow, and the planet appears at first glance to be masked by unintelligible cloud movement. By the end of January 2015, though, Higgins has pointed us toward a pair of cyclones developing, and then dissipating, in the Indian Ocean. And then we start to notice the winter storms rolling west to east across the face of that upper hemisphere.

Higgins presents a fascinating time-travelogue through the year. We watch ground cover slowly change, as the earth tilts in spring, and we see cyclones—March 12’s Tropical Cyclone Pam, for instance—grow in the tropics.

You might expect a video like this to be dry, but it’s thoroughly absorbing—thanks especially to the fascinating narration Higgins offers throughout. By the time you reach the end of December 2015, you might just want to revisit the year in weather all over again.