3D Mapping of The Global Climate

Data analyst Alasdair Rae created unique 3D maps of the global population density. This idea inspired me to make three-dimensional maps depicting different climatic parameters. To create these maps, I used Worldclim data: average temperature (°C), precipitation (mm), solar radiation (kJ m-2 day-1), and wind speed (m s-1).

Average temperature

The average Earth’s surface temperature is 14.9°C (58.62°F), but the temperature is unevenly distributed on the planet’s surface. The patterns of temperature distribution on the maps below are mostly latitudinal. However, the latitudinal banding is partly disturbed because water bodies are usually warmer than land surfaces. The maps below also show the influence of altitude (especially the Himalayas, Cordillera, and Andes mountains).

World map of Average Temperature

North America

Average temperatures in North America

The annual average temperatures in the Northern American Cordillera are very diverse.

Average temperatures in North American Cordillera
North American Cordillera

South America

Average temperatures in South America

Europe

Average temperatures in Europe

Africa

Average temperatures in Africa

Asia

Average temperatures in Asia

Australia

Average temperatures in Australia
Precipitation

The globally averaged annual precipitation is 100 centimeters (39 inches), but this is distributed quite unevenly. Overland, the average yearly precipitation is only 715 millimeters (28.1 inches). On a large scale, the highest rainfall territories are located in the equatorial zone and Southeast Asia’s monsoon region. Middle latitudes get moderate volumes of precipitation, and the subtropics’ desert regions and polar regions receive the least amount of precipitation.

Precipitation in the world

North America

Precipitation in North America

Annual precipitation totals about 4 thousand millimeters in Alaska’s southern chains and up to 2.5 thousand millimeters along the coast of British Columbia, lowering to 300 millimeters in the United States’ inner plains.

Precipitation in North American Cordillera
North American Cordillera

South America

Precipitation in South America

Mountain territories near the equator in Colombia are amongst the wettest areas on our planet.

Precipitation in mountain territories near the equator in Ecuador and Colombia
Mountain territories near the equator in Ecuador and Colombia

Europe

Precipitation in Europe

Africa

Precipitation in Africa

Asia

Precipitation in Asia

Australia

Precipitation in Australia
Solar Radiation

The latitude of the location determines how much solar radiation is received. Latitude influences the angle of incidence and duration of daylength.

Map of Solar Radiation

North America

Solar Radiation in North America

South America

Solar Radiation in South America

Europe

Solar Radiation in Europe

Africa

Solar Radiation in Africa

Asia

Solar Radiation in Asia

Australia

Solar Radiation in Australia
Wind Speed

The strongest winds are in the mid-latitudes, where cold polar air masses reach warm air from the tropics. Near the average latitude of the subtropics, winds are lighter.

World map of Wind Speed

North America

Wind Speed in North America

South America

Wind Speed in South America

Europe

Wind Speed in Europe

Africa

Wind Speed in Africa

Asia

Wind Speed in Asia

Australia

Wind Speed in Australia
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