This story is over 5 years old.


Predict Winds to Come with a Climate Data Visualization Tool

FutureEverything and Moritz Stefaner team up with climate scientists to create a wind predicting weather tool.

According to both

NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

, 2015 was the warmest year since records began in 1880. Also, 15 of the 16 warmest years ever recorded in modern times have taken place since 2001. Over the weekend, NASA

released data

showing that February 2016 broke global temperature records (director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, which released the data, tweeted "


temperature analysis. Wow.

"). This is just some of the evidence that says climate change is happening right now all around us. Which means we have every reason to feel anxious about whether enough is being done to tackle and understand what's going on.

That's not to say nothing is being done, however. A new project by Future Everything, the Barcelona Supercomputing Centre, the UK's Met Office, and data viz specialist and designer Moritz Stefaner looks at what art and design can collaboratively contribute to understanding and aiding the science of climate change. Together over two years they collectively created Project Ukko.

Project Ukko, named after the Finnish god ofweather,uses climate modeling data to help predict seasonal wind conditions not just over weeks, but months and seasons. It's an interactive browser app featuring a global map with data overlayed so users can explore and look for wind patterns and trends globally and regionally using detailed prediction breakdowns. Lines are used to visualize the data, with wind speed symbolized through thickness, tilt, and color.

Project Ukko. Image courtesy FutureEverything

"For us, this was an opportunity to apply our knowledge to a design problem that has a real impact on resilience to extreme weather events and climate change," project director and founder of FutureEverything Drew Hemment tells The Creators Project. "The scientific capability to predict weather and climate over months or even decades is staggering, even if still emerging and uneven."


It's information that could be extremely useful for those working in the renewable energy sector, wind farmers, energy traders, and others. As you can imagine, understanding future wind conditions will not only help the industry ready itself and maximize resources, but also shore up support and validate clean energy as something that can come to replace fossil fuels. Bascially this isn't just a pretty way to look at wind conditions, but a tool for professionals in the industry.

"In 2012 [Met Office climate scientist] Carlo Buontempo invited me to join a European project he was leading, called EUPORIAS, developing climate services for different industries built on this forecast information," notes Hemment. "I jumped at the chance to introduce design to this hugely important task. It was a chance to show the impact design can make, and we were able to bring in world leading design talent like Moritz Stefaner into the project. Barcelona Supercomputing Centre have been integral to this process. For EUPORIAS, they have developed a prototype called RESILIENCE, which provides the climate prediction data visualized in Project Ukko."

Project Ukko. Image courtesy FutureEverything

As you might expect, the science of wind prediction and forecasting over long periods is complex to understand and pretty impenetrable for those of us who aren't specialists. One of the tasks and goals of climate services is to make this data accessible for businesses and the general public. For Project Ukko, the team spoke with energy giants like EON and EDF in the design process to understand the needs of the sector, for instance the need for detecting what regions might see big changes in wind conditions, and whether wind farms are located at these sites. Another challenge was to take data which is based on probabilities and show the sector that it could be presented in a useful and functional manner.


The test now will be to see what the industry makes of the tool. If it's a success, hopefully collaborations like this will become more commonplace. "Climate change poses an urgent challenge to our society, and calls for a profound rethink of the ways in which we manage the resources of the planet," concludes Hemment. "To do so, we need to improve the way in which we extract meaningful information from the ever growing amount of data we produce. Design has a vital role to play in communicating this information effectively."

Project Ukko. Image courtesy FutureEverything

Project Ukko. Image courtesy FutureEverything Project Ukko is a FutureEverything and Barcelona Supercomputing Centre project for EUPORIAS with visualisation design by Moritz Stefaner—it is presented as a part of European City of Science at the FutureEverything festival, Wednesday, March 30 – Saturday, April 2.

EUPORIAS is a project funded by the EU 7th Framework Programme (GA 308291) and led by the Met Office.


Sky Bridge Robot Sculpture Responds to Nature

Weather-Activated Textiles Ensure Nothing Rains On Your Parade

Follow a Stormchaser Through Thunderstorms and the Aurora Borealis

An LED Storm Cloud Is Turning Sound into Electricity