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The Year in Weather Like You've Never Seen Before (VIDEO)

By: Brian Kahn
Published: January 28, 2014

Satellite images often provide crucial information when major storms such as Super Typhoon Haiyan form. But both extreme events and our day-to-day weather are part of a much larger climate system. Now EUMETSAT, the European Union’s satellite agency, has taken that long view and used satellite images to construct an entire year in weather on our planet in high definition.

The new visualization uses data gathered in 2013 from European, Japanese, and American satellites and overlays it on NASA’s Blue Marble images. This is the first time EUMETSAT has put together this type of visualization.

Watching it, it’s easy to see why Super Typhoon Haiyan was one of the biggest weather catastrophes of the year. The storm’s rapid expansion and beeline for the Philippines in November are clearly visible from a bird’s eye view. October’s freak blizzard in the Midwest, powerful windstorms in Europe in November and December, and tropical storms throughout the year are all on display.

However, watching the video also makes it clear that extreme events are only a portion of what makes up our planet’s climate system. Instead, it’s a dynamic system constantly in flux with many features we often take for granted.

Unimpeded by land, storm systems rumble across the Southern Ocean throughout the year. Clouds rarely pass over the dry expanse of the Sahara while in the Tropics, bands of rain shift north or south of the equator depending on the season. The remnants of cyclones are pulled up and away into the jet stream and recycled through planet’s climate system.

(PHOTOS: Sunset So Beautiful, Even the Polar Bears Stopped to Watch It)

We each experience weather in a unique way depending on where we live. This new view gives us a chance to put those individual experiences in a bigger context. It isn’t required for viewing, but watching this full screen with the lights low helps drive that point home.

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MORE: Then and Now Photos of Alaskan Glaciers

Muir Glacier and Inlet (1895)

Muir Glacier and Inlet (1895)

In the photo above, the west shoreline of Muir Inlet in Alaska's Glacier Bay National Park & Preserve is shown as it appeared in 1895. Notice the lack of vegetation on the slopes of the mountains, and the glacier that stands more than 300 feet high. See the glacier as it looked in 2005 on the next page. (USGS/Bruce Molnia)

  • Muir Glacier and Inlet (1895)
  • Muir Glacier and Inlet (2005)
  • Plateau Glacier (1961)
  • Plateau Glacier (2003)
  • Bear Glacier (1920s)
  • Bear Glacier (2005)
  • Northwestern Glacier (1920s-1940s)
  • Northwestern Glacier (2005)
  • Northwestern Glacier (1909)
  • Northwestern Glacier (2004)
  • Pedersen Glacier (1920s-1940s)
  • Pedersen Glacier (2005)
  • Pedersen Glacier (1909)
  • Pedersen Glacier (2005)
  • Reid Glacier (1899)
  • Reid Glacier (2003)
  • Muir Glacier and Inlet (1890)
  • Muir Glacier and Inlet (2005)
  • Muir Glacier and Inlet (1896)
  • Muir Glacier and Inlet (2005)
  • Yale Glacier (1937)
  • Yale Glacier (2006)
  • Muir Glacier and Inlet (1880s-1890s)
  • Muir Glacier and Inlet (2005)
  • Muir Glacier (1941)
  • Muir Glacier and Inlet (1950)
  • Muir Glacier and Inlet (2004)
  • Carroll Glacier (1906)
  • Carroll Glacier (2004)
  • Muir Inlet (1976)
  • Muir Inlet (2003)
  • McCarty Glacier (1909)
  • McCarty Glacier (2004)
  • McCarty Glacier (1909)
  • McCarty Glacier (2004)
  • Muir and Adams Glaciers (1899)
  • Muir and Adams Glaciers (2003)
  • Yalik Glacier (1909)
  • Yalik Glacier (2004)
  • Denali National Park (1919)
  • Denali National Park (2004)
  • Northwestern Glacier (1920s-1940s)
  • Northwestern Glacier (2005)
  • Toboggan Glacier (1905)
  • Toboggan Glacier (2008)
  • Muir Inlet (1895)
  • Muir Inlet (2005)

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