The scene shown below is a simulation of Hurricane Georges (September 1998) as it traversed across the Caribbean. The image was created by taking a global DTM (National Geophysical Data Center, Terrain Base DTM), projecting it into a geographical coordinate system (WGS80) and rendering it using a latitude/elevation model for colors and saturation. The rendering requires approximately 300,000 polygons. The actual view contains over 1 million polygons, but most are filtered out using an adaptive level-of-detail (LOD) filter.
The underlying hurricane model (courtesy of Risk Management Solutions of Menlo Park ) uses a moving logarithmic sampling matrix which is then integrated across a fixed latitudinal/longitudinal grid and rendered. The size of the arrows indicates relative wind-speed at the surface. The yellow spheres indicate 6-hour time-step points.
The model machinery reads the input data from the Hurricane Georges track, evaluates the storm windspeeds and integrates them across the grid and then updates the current view. Due to a very efficient LOD filter, the model can run at full detail (0.0833 degree per grid element) at approximately 2 FPS (frames per second) on a 333 MHz PII with a Fire GL1000 graphics card. Higher frame rates can be achieved by lowering the required detail level interactively.