An atmospheric visual analysis and exploration system

Yuyan Song, Jing Ye, Nikolai Svakhine, Sonia Lasher-Trapp, Mike Baldwin, David S. Ebert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Meteorological research involves the analysis of multi-field, multi-scale, and multi-source data sets. In order to better understand these data sets, models and measurements at different resolutions must be analyzed. Unfortunately, traditional atmospheric visualization systems only provide tools to view a limited number of variables and small segments of the data. These tools are often restricted to two-dimensional contour or vector plots or three-dimensional isosurfaces. The meteorologist must mentally synthesize the data from multiple plots to glean the information needed to produce a coherent picture of the weather phenomenon of interest. In order to provide better tools to meteorologists and reduce system limitations, we have designed an integrated atmospheric visual analysis and exploration system for interactive analysis of weather data sets. Our system allows for the integrated visualization of 1 D, 2D, and 3D atmospheric data sets in common meteorological grid structures and utilizes a variety of rendering techniques. These tools provide meteorologists with new abilities to analyze their data and answer questions on regions of interest, ranging from physics-based atmospheric rendering to illustrative rendering containing particles and glyphs. In this paper, we will discuss the use and performance of our visual analysis for two important meteorological applications. The first application is warm rain formation in small cumulus clouds. Here, our three-dimensional, interactive visualization of modeled drop trajectories within spatially correlated fields from a cloud simulation has provided researchers with new insight. Our second application is improving and validating severe storm models, specifically the Weather Research and Forecasting (WRF) model. This is done through correlative visualization of WRF model and experimental Doppler storm data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1157-1164
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2006


  • Glyph rendering
  • Grid structures
  • Transfer function
  • Volume rendering
  • Volume visualization
  • Warm rain entrainment process
  • Weather visualization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Signal Processing
  • Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design

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