Map of world hurricanes since 1851





With the peak month for global hurricanes nearly upon us, now is a good time to reflect upon all the thrashing tropical storms of yesteryear. Here's a way of looking at the atmosphere's tumultuous timeline that you've probably never seen before, courtesy of John Nelson at the "data viz" website IDV User Experience.

Nelson has taken storm-path data from NOAA from 1851 to 2010 that includes all recorded tropical storms and hurricanes, and laid it on a "South Pole stereographic" map of the world. (If you're having trouble getting oriented, that's Antarctica in the middle, Asia on the left and the Americas on the right.) The color of the points represents a system's intensity, with the darkest, faded blue being a tropical storm and the iridescent green the equal of a most-potent Category 5 hurricane....



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