Look at This: Every Recorded Hurricane Since 1851 on One Map

By Sophie Bushwick | August 24, 2012 9:16 am

hurricane map

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has a tropical storm and hurricane data archive that stretches back to 1851. But looking at each storm individually doesn’t have nearly as much impact as seeing them all projected onto a map at once. Data visualization expert John Nelson combined data on historical storms’ paths and intensities to create this stunning image, where the color of a dot represents that storm’s intensity.

The photo links to a larger version, but for a resolution high enough to see each individual point, click here.

[via io9]

Image courtesy of IDVsolutions / flickr

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Environment
  • John Tate

    It would’ve been nicer if the continents weren’t so darn dark and nearly invisible!

  • Sue

    Thanks for giving us the link to the high resolution version. It is spectacular!

  • Chris

    Also what is with the weird map perspective?

  • Ozonator aka Robert Rhodes

    Have the extremist Republicans and Christians aka deniers have had a chance to review this? They always say there is hurricane inflation and practice ignoring most hurricanes outside the US. At least show it to the RNC venue committee.

  • Margaret

    Not unlike the beauty received from Hubble.

  • John Lerch

    How does a hurricane be just a dot? Is the dot the day it became a hurricane with the color the eventual strength? Or what?

  • anothercindy

    It’s preeety! Not so good for information, but cool.

  • stargene

    I believe the individual dots along a given curvy trackway represent
    the positions and also the strengths (ie: class 1,2,..5) of individual
    storms in their individual chronologies.

    Two things I hadn’t known before… (1) the high number of such storms
    churning up the west coast of Mexico and the USA and then moving
    west over the Pacific… (2) and the existence of a separate storm belt,
    one end of which seems to start off the eastern tip of South Africa
    and which then curves over through the southern Indian Ocean,
    passing between Australia and Indonesia and ends in the central
    South Pacific!

    More somberly, the fraction of high intensity storms clearly gets
    more constant, with far less fluctuation, in the last six or seven
    decades. See the graph on the lower right.

  • Hmmm

    @stargene as you noted the intensity of the 6-7 decades appears to be getting stronger with less fluctation. This map is only rccorded storms starting in 1851, so there may be quite a few that were not recorded and also the graph appears to coincide with the advancement of technology. I know they did not have radar before the 1940’s and am not sure when they started using radar for weather. Also doppler radar has not been used except for maybe a decade or two.

    So is the intensity and lower variance of storms an independant variable or is it related to better technology being able to get better measure of the storms?

  • Kevin

    I’m wondering, I’m not seeing the 1858 San Diego hurricane there, That one apparently was reconstructed to have just missed the coast, but was a hurricane when it caused great damage from wind and rain in san diego and proceded north. I see no dots anywhere near that track.

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