Assignment 4 – Atlantic Tropical Cyclone Paths 1851-2012

Matthew Southgate on 15|12|2013
Filled under: Assignment4

Using the HURDAT dataset I discussed last week, I built a visualisation that showed the paths followed by every storm that occurred between 1851 and 2012. I decided to colour the trails based on storm duration, as information about storm intensity was not available for the full data set. By colouring based on current duration, it is easy to see where the storms originate and where they end up. The current visualisation runs through the years from the start value, and keeps plotting more and more paths until it reaches the end of the csv file. I realised that as the screen became more and more busy it was harder to see what the visualisation was actually doing at that point in time. To counter for this I added a switch to turn on a smaller plot that only showed the current track that was being plotted. I also added some text that stated the current year that was being plotted.


As the animation takes a long time to run through the nearly 47000 rows, I added a slider that allowed the user to select the start year of the animation. Currently, choosing the year clears the paths that are already on the screen but in the future I may make this an optional feature.

The following images show the differences that can be seen if individual periods of time are looked at. There is a clear increase in number of storms between the 1982-1992 and 2002-2012 periods.


Paths between 1851 and 1861

Paths between 1982 and 1992

Paths between 1982 and 1992


Paths between 1992 and 2002

Paths between 1992 and 2002

Paths between 2002 and 2012

Paths between 2002 and 2012

As this is such an interesting dataset, I would like to continue with this visualisation and build upon it for the final project. It would be interesting to be able to filter storms to show only those that reach a certain classification or storms that pass close to a specific region. I would also like to incorporate a method to plot cumulative landfalls on the map, so that the places that are most frequently affected by storms can be identified.

Original CSV File from National Hurricane Center


Edited Storms CSV File Used in Visualisation


Processing Sketch (Requires Processing 1.5.1) 

File was too big to upload here (due to the map tiles) so it needs to be downloaded from my Google Drive.





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