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An Image of Hurricane Katrina Gaining Strength

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Hurricane Katrina gains energy over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico in this simulation. (Image credit: Advanced Visualization Laboratory, National Center for Supercomputing Applications)

This Research in Action article was provided to LiveScience in partnership with the National Science Foundation.

The Advanced Visualization Laboratory team at the National Science Foundation-supported National Center for Supercomputing Applications in Urbana, Ill., led by Donna Cox, has created a dramatic new visualization of Hurricane Katrina, based on computations of the evolution of the hurricane by a research team at the Earth System Laboratory at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., led by Wei Wang.

The Advanced Visualization Laboratory team transformed terabytes of data from the Earth System Laboratory into a striking time-evolving animation of the 36-hour period when the storm is gaining energy over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico and heading for New Orleans. In this image, dawn once again comes to the Gulf, while Hurricane Katrina continues to swirl and gain strength.

The Katrina visualization is part of a new planetarium dome show called "Dynamic Earth" which will use visualizations based on satellite monitoring data and advanced supercomputer simulations to explore the workings of Earth's climate. The show follows a trail of energy that flows from the sun into the atmosphere, oceans, and the biosphere.

The Advanced Visualization Laboratory contributors include Donna Cox, Robert Patterson, Stuart Levy, Alex Betts and Matthew Hall. The National Center for Atmospheric Research team members include Wei Wang, Ryan Torn, Jimy Dudhia, Chris Davis.

Editor's Note: Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. See the Research in Action archive.