The animation begins by showing the regions of warm water that are favorable for storm development advancing northward through the peak of hurricane season and then receding as the waters cool. The thermal energy in these warm waters powers the hurricanes. Strong shearing winds in the troposphere can disrupt developing young storms, but measurements indicate that there was very little shearing wind activity in 2005 to impede storm formation.
Sea surface temperatures, clouds, storm tracks, and hurricane category labels are shown as the hurricane season progresses.
This visualization shows some of the actual data that NASA and NOAA satellites measured in 2005 — data used to predict the paths and intensities of hurricanes. Satellite data play a vital role in helping us understand the land, ocean, and atmosphere systems that have such dramatic effects on our lives.
NOTE: This animation shows the named storms from the 2005 hurricane season. During a re-analysis of 2005, NOAA's Tropical Prediction Center/National Hurricane Center determined that a short-lived subtropcial storm developed near the Azores Islands in late September, increasing the 2005 tropical storm count from 27 to 28. This storm was not named and is not shown in this animation.
'27 Storms: Arlene to Zeta' played in the SIGGRAPH 2007 Computer Animation Festival in August 2007. It was also a finalist in the 2006 NSF Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge.