Here is all of 2008 in infrared from NOAA’s eastern GOES satellite. This was the wettest year on record here in the mid-Mississippi valley, and the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season was a fairly busy one.

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Note that the images used here do not show clouds per se — it is infrared sensing. That generally correlates to cloud cover, but it’s not identical. There are often low clouds when this image would make you think the sky is clear. High clouds and thick clouds with high tops — the weather makers — are what these images show most clearly. And those are the interesting ones, of course.

The whorl and play of weather systems sweeping across the continent is always fascinating. In certain seasons you can see sea breeze convergence creating diurnal pulses of cumulus clouds over Florida and the Greater Antilles.  The rain shadow of mountain ranges is evident.

These images are captured from the web at a rate of two per hour. The video was created with one capture per video frame at a standard rate of 29.97 frames per second. Rounding that up to ease the arithmetic, there are about 15 hours of weather per second of video.

The overall rate is actually a little more than that because there are about two hours each day when the images do not update. You can see it jump forward a little bit very regularly because of those missing images. I’ve tried filling those in with the last received image, and I’ve tried filling the gap by fading from the last before the break to the first following the break. The regular tiny halts that both of those methods produce are worse, to my eye, than the tiny jumps forward.

There are, of course, periodic gaps when my computer or my internet were down. There aren’t too many of those, and they’re not too awfully long.

I shrink the size of these images when capturing them in order to save disk space. My computer continually captures images from several sources, consuming hundreds of gigabytes of space over time. As a result this video is not quite as sharp as it could be, though the original clip is encoded to DVD standards.

I considered overlaying the date and time of each capture onto the individual frames. I did not do that because the resulting images would have less overall quality if reencoded as JPEG, and they would take up too much space if reencoded to a non-lossy format. (There’s also a matter of laziness to consider.) Zoomed to full screen I can make out the original date stamp, barely, on each frame in the video before uploading. If you want to identify particular bouts of weather you might try doing that with YouTube’s HQ version and hope they haven’t mangled it too badly.

This video has sound effects added rather than music, but I didn’t spend much time mixing the pieces for it.  Appropriate sound makes any video better, and I always look for something good. But I’m not a sound artist and have not been tempted to spend the hours it would take to create the ideal background for a video like this.

The audio files from are offered by their creators under the Creative Commons Sampling Plus 1.0 license.  That license does allow some commercial use, but not for advertising other goods or services.  Read the license for details.  The video portion is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license. Reuse of the combined work must satisfy both licenses.  The audio and the visual portions may be separated from each other, in which case each portion is to be treated under the terms of the license that specifically applies to it.

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