The animations on this page show the climatology of the seasonal cycle for selected
climate variables for the time period 1959-1997. The individual frames in each
animation show the map pattern of the long-term average of a particular monthly climate
variable. When these frames are displayed in a loop, they reveal the temporal and
spatial variations in that variable over the seasonal cycle.
The animations are used as teaching tools in climatology and global environmental
change courses to visualize the seasonal variations of, and interactions among a set of
climate variables that describe the surface water and energy balances, temperature, and
Another motivation for developing these animations was to bring research
approaches and data sets into the classroom, in order to illustrate some of the
emerging techniques for visualizing how the climate system works, and why it
In order minimize problems of viewing the animations across a range of web
browsers, they are presented as both animated .gif files, and as Flash
animations with controls. The individual images
were constructed using web-safe colors.
Data used to create these images are from the NCEP/NCAR 40-Year Reanalysis Project.