Sunday, May 22, 2011

My New Favorite Website: Weatherspark

Having run the astronomy labs at Elon for many years, I have spent many hours checking many weather sites, trying to predict whether the skies will be cloudy. I would click back and forth between,, and to access different data slices and maps. Today, I got a glimpse into the future of weather sites with  Oh my god! What middle-school girls feel for Justin Bieber, I feel for WeatherSpark! If Edward Tufte and Al Roker had a love child, this would be it.

Ok...putting aside my "shiny new toy" feelings for this site, let me give two critical comments.

POSITIVE: This is the first site I've seen that clearly illustrates the difference between actual weather, predicted weather, and climate. I will certainly have students look at it in class when I start to talk climate change and/or scientific uncertainty.

NEGATIVE: The WeatherSpark map is missing two data products I rely on: infrared satellite data (for tracking clouds that aren't raining) and a future button for the map (so I don't have to use a ruler and estimate when the clouds will show up myself).


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