“Applications of computer graphics to the visualization of meteorological data” by Papathomas, Schiavone and Julesz

  • ©Thomas V. Papathomas, J. A. Schiavone, and Bela Julesz




    Applications of computer graphics to the visualization of meteorological data



    The need to visualize huge amounts of numerical data is exemplified in the field of meteorology, where measurements of many atmospheric parameters are routinely taken over large geographical areas for the purpose of monitoring and predicting weather. Computer graphics has provided and will continue to offer powerful tools to meet this visualization challenge, principally in three areas: first, efficient graphics algorithms for displaying the data; second, novel special-purpose graphics hardware; and third, interactive techniques for graphically manipulating the data at close to video rates. This paper reviews past and current uses of computer graphics for gaining insight from measured or modelled meterological data.


    1. Bell Telephone Laboratories, Weather Maps Transmitted by Teletypewriter System, Bell Laboratories Record, 3-4, September 1931.
    2. Blinn, J. F., Light Reflection Functions for Simulation of Cloud and Dusty Surfaces, Computer Graphics, Vol. 16, No. 3, 21-29, 1982.
    3. Burr, P., and Sperling, G., Time, Distance and Feature Trade-offs in Visual Apparent Motion, Psychol. Review, Vol. 88, 171-195, 1981.
    4. DesJardins, M., and Haster, A. F., Stereographic Displays of Atmospheric Model Data, Computer Graphics, Vol. 14, No. 3, 134-139, 1980.
    5. Fournier, A., Fussell, D., and Carpenter, L., Computer Rendering of Stochastic Models, Comm. of the ACM, Vol. 25, No. 6, 371-384, 1982.
    6. Frenkel, K. A., The Art and Science of Visualizing Data, Comm. of the ACM, Vol. 31, No. 2, 111-121, 1988.
    7. Fulker, D., Director’s Report, UNIDATA Newsletter, 2, 2-3, Fall 1987.
    8. Gardner, G. Y., Simulation of Natural Scenes Using Textured Quadric Surfaces, Computer Graphics, Vol. 18, No. 3, 11-20, 1984
    9. Gardner, G. Y., Visual Simulation of Clouds, Computer Graphics, Vol. 19, No. 3, 297-303, 1985.
    10. Gelberg, L. M., and Stephenson, T. P., Supercomputing and Graphics in the Earth and Planetary Sciences, IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, 26-33, July 1987.
    11. Grotjahn, R., and Chervin, R. M., Animated Graphics in Meteorological Research and Presentations, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 65, 11, 1201-1208, November 1984.
    12. Hamann, D. R., Doing Physics with Computers, Physics Today, May 1983.
    13. Hasler, A. F., DesJardins, M., and Negri, A. J., Artificial Stereo Presentation of Meteorological Data Fields, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 66, 970-973, 1981.
    14. Hasler, A.F., Advances in Systems for Interactive Processing and Display of Meteorological Data, Preprints, Conference on Aerospace and Aeronautical Meteorology, Boston, American Meteorological Society, 60-62, June 1983.
    15. Hasler, A. F., Pierce, H., Morris, K. R., and Dodge, J., Meteorological Data Fields ‘In Perspective’, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 66, 795-801, 1985.
    16. Hasler, A.F., Strong, J., Morris, R., and Pierce, H., Automatic Analysis of Stereoscopic Image Pairs from GOES Satellites, Proceedings Third Conference on Satellite Meteorology and Oceanography, Anaheim, CA, 1988.
    17. Hibbard, W.L., Krauss, R., and Young, J.T., 3-D Weather Displays Using MclDAS, Preprints, ICIIPSMOH, Los Angeles, American Meteorological Society, 153-156, 1985.
    18. Hibbard, W. L., Computer-Generated Imagery for 4-D Meteorological Data, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 67, 1362-1369, November 1986.
    19. Hibbard, W. L., 4-D Display of Meteorological Data, Proceedings of the 1986 Workshop on Interactive 3D Graphics, Chapel Hill, N.C., 23-36, 1986.
    20. Hibbard, W. L., A Next Generation MclDAS Workstation, Reprints, Fourth Int’l Conf. on Interactive Info. and Processing Systems for Meteorology, Oceanography and Hydrology (ICIIPSMOH), Anaheim, CA, American Meteorological Society, 56-61, 1988.
    21. Hochberg, J. E., Perception 2nd ed. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, 1978.
    22. Hussey, K. J., Hall, J. R., and Mortensen, R. A., Image Processing Methods in Two and Three Dimensions used to Animate Remotely Sensed Data, Proceedings of IGARSS Symposium, Z~rich, 771-776, 1986.
    23. Ide, J. R., The UNIDATA PC-McIDAS Workstation: a Technical Discussion, Preprints, ICIIPSMOH, Anaheim, CA, American Meteorological Society, 332-335, 1988.
    24. Julesz, B., Binocular Depth Perception of Computer- Generated Patterns, Bell System Tech. J., 1125-1162, 1960.
    25. Kajiya, J. T., and VonHerzen, B. P., Ray Tracing Volume Densities, Computer Graphics, Vol. 18, No. 3, 165-174, 1984.
    26. Klemp, J. B., and Rotunno, R., Taking a Good Look at Data, NCAR Annual Report for 1984, Report NCAR/AR-84, 46-49, 1985.
    27. MacDonald, A. E. Design Considerations of Operational Meteorological Systems: A Perspective Based upon the PROFS Experience, ICIIPSMOH, Los Angeles, American Meteorological Society, 16-23, 1985.
    28. Mandelbrot, B. B., and VanNess, J. W., Fractal Brownian Motions, Fractional Noises and Applications, SIAM Review, Vol. 10, No. 4, 422-437, 1968.
    29. Max, N. L., Atmospheric Illumination and Shadows, Computer Graphics, Vol. 20, No. 4, 117-124, 1986.
    30. Max, N. L., Light Diffusion through Clouds and Haze, Computer Vision, Graphics and Image Processing, Vol. 33, 280-292, 1986.
    31. Miller, G. S. P., The Definition and Rendering of Terrain Maps, Computer Graphics, Vol. 20, No. 4, 39-48, 1986.
    32. Nishita, T., Miyawaki, Y., and Nakamae, E., A Shading Model for Atmospheric Scattering Considering Luminous Intensity Distribution of Light Sources, Computer Graphics, Vol. 21, No. 4, 303-310, 1987.
    33. Panel on the Physical Simulation and Visual Representation of Natural Phenomena, SIGGRAPH ’87, Vol. 21, No. 4, 335-336, 1987.
    34. Papathomas, T. V., Schiavone, J.A., and Julesz, B., Stereo Animation for Very Large Data Bases: Case Study – Meteorology, IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, 7, 18-27, 1987.
    35. Perlin, K., An Image Synthesizer, Computer Graphics, Vol. 19, No. 3, 287-296, 1985.
    36. Petit, N. J. and Lyons, W. A., Low-cost Stand-alone Receiving and Video Facsimile Display Systems for GOES-TAP and WEFAX/APT, ICIIPSMOH, Los Angeles, American Meteorological Society, 295-299, 1985.
    37. Pichel, W., Bristor, C. L., and Brower, R., Artificial Stereo: A Technique for Combining Multichannel Satellite Image Data, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, 54, 688-691, 1973.
    38. Potmesil, M. and Chakravarty, I., Modeling Motion Blur in Computer Generated Images, ACM SIGGRAPH “83 Proceedings, Vol. 17, No. 3, 389-399, 1983.
    39. Ramachandran, V. S., and Gregory, R. L., Does Colour Provide an Input to Human Motion Perception? Nature, Vol. 275, 55-56, 1978.
    40. Reeves, W. T., Particle Systems – A Technique for Modeling a Class of Fuzzy Objects, ACM Trans. on Graphics, Vol. 2, No. 2, 91-108, 1983.
    41. Reeves, W. T., and Blau, R., Approximate and Probabilistic Algorithms for Shading and Rendering Structured Particle Systems, Computer Graphics 19, 3, 313-322, 1985.
    42. Rushmeier, H. E., and Torrance, K.E., The Zonal Method for Calculating Light Intensities in the Presence of a Participating Medium, Computer Graphics, Vol. 21, No. 4, 293-302, 1987.
    43. Schiavone, J. A., Papathomas, T. V., Julesz, B., Kreitzberg, C. W., and Perkey, D. J., Anaglyphic Stereo Animation of Meteorological Fields, Preprints, Second ICIIPSMOH, Boston, American Meteorological Society, 64-71, 1986.
    44. Smith, E. A., The MclDAS System, IEEE Transactions on Geoscience Electronics, GE- 13, 123-134, 1975.
    45. Treinish, L. A., and Gough, M. L., A Software Package for the Data-Independent Management of Multi- Dimensional Data, Submitted to EOS, Transactions of the American Geophysical Union, December 1986.
    46. Treinish, L. A., Gough, M. L., and Wildenhain, W. D., Animated Computer Graphics Models of Space and Earth Sciences Data Generated via the Massively Parallel Processor, NASA Frontiers of Massively Parallel Scientific Computation, Report NASA/N87-26531, 217- 222, July 1987.
    47. Upson, C., Large Scale Computer Animation in the Computational Sciences, Course No. 28 Notes for Computer Graphics and Animation in the Physical Sciences, ACM SIGGRAPH 1987, 64-65, 1987.
    48. Vonder Haar, T., Meade, A., Brubaker, T., and Craig, R., Four-Dimensional Digital Imaging for Meteorological Applications, Preprints, ICIlPSMOH, Miami, American Meteorological Society, 1986.
    49. Voss, R., Fractai Forgery, Course No. 10 Notes for State-of-the-Art in Image Synthesis, ACM S1GGRAPH 1983.
    50. Wright, T. J., Utility Plotting Programs at NCAR, Atmospheric Technology, 51-57, September 1973.
    51. Yaeger, L., and Upson, C., Combining Physical and Visual Simulation – Creation of the Planet Jupiter for the Film ‘2010’, Computer Graphics, Vol. 20, No. 4, 85- 93, 1986.

ACM Digital Library Publication: