Flow Fields is a 3D modelling application, commissioned by UNSW’s Centre for Climate Change Research. The Project explores the practical use of water vapour visualisation for cyclone modelling. Water vapour is one of the multiple data layers that are captured by Earth-Observing Satellites and forms one of the core phenomena of cyclonic activity. This data is normally only seen as low-resolution 2D time-lapse stills on a small monitor. The research team converted data from a NASA satellite into 3D stereoscopic video, and algorithmically processed it to normalise its speed, upgrading it to Ultra High Definition and projecting it onto a cinematic scale screen.
The project brought together a team of climate scientists, computer scientists and 3D modellers to dramatically improve the visual coherence of this data, revealing for the first time that cyclonic activities are preceded by previously unseen reticulations in the water vapour layer. Study of these reticulations and their implications for predicting the emerging location of cyclones now forms part of a long-term project funded by the Climate Change Research Centre.