Clouds represent a fabulous form of flow visualization that is available to
everybody, almost every day. Here are a couple of good cloud galleries:
Cloud Appreciation Society
: British site for cloud lovers,
including a gallery of clouds that look like things.
Here are some resources to help you figure out what the clouds have to say about flow physics.
Inexpensive books on clouds:
by Gavin Pretor-Pinney, founder of the Cloud Appreciation Society (2006). This is a very gentle introduction to cloud physics, with interesting anecdotes about each cloud type.
The Cloud Book
by Richard Hamblyn, in association with the Met Office, 2008. A well-illustrated cloud atlas, organized by cloud height
The Book of Clouds
by John Day ("Cloudman") 2006. Another well-illustrated cloud atlas, but organized by cloud family (cumulus, stratus etc.)
Book on cloud flow physics:
AC No. 00-57 Hazardous Mountain Winds & Their Visual Indicators:
This is an FAA book for pilots on mountain area clouds and the winds that they reveal. You can download the whole short book for free.
Cloud Types for Observers:
This is a 45 page document from the Met Office (2006), the British weather bureau. This booklet describes how to classify clouds. You can download the whole short book for free.
Weather data sites:
Basic local or national weather:
Weather Underground for Boulder
also has surface weather history back to 1986 for the whole US.
Current Skew T Plot for Denver.
This shows the current temperature profile in the atmosphere. If the
temperature (white line on the right) is steeper than the adiabatic
cooling line (solid yellow) then the atmosphere is stable.The 6 am Denver sounding will have a timestamp of 1200z, and the 6 pm sounding will have a timestamp of 0000z, with the
next day's date. More info on
skew-T plots can be found here.
If you are really serious, here is a detailed free online course, Skew-T Mastery
Here is a skew-T archive
that covers back to 1973. Be sure to choose skew-T plot as output option.
e-Wall, Penn State's Electronic Map Wall.
Forecasters synthesize a local
forecast from the predictions of several computer models. This site shows the big model predictions, plus a range of
other weather data, such as satellite views and upper air plots.
CDC Map Room.
More weather data and model predictions, from the NOAA-CIRES Climate Diagnostics
Center, including polar views.
from U Wisconsin, including global montages.
of surface data and satellite images back to Jan 2004, courtesy of U Illinois.
Climate model simulation visualizations
from NCAR, including this
of planet-wide clouds and precipitation for an
Chart of Dimensionless Numbers.
Order a free giant poster from Omega.
Science and Engineering Visualization Challenge.
NSF, AAAS and Science magazine's annual visualization contest.
, info, projects and kits.
is the main ingredient in food coloring. This link lists its density, safety and some other properties.
Rheoscopic (aka kalliroscopic) fluids show the shear field in a flow. Pantene Pro shampoo is an example of a viscous, pearlescent fluid with this property. You can make
your own inexpensive fluid using an iridescent art pigment, such as the Pearl Ex 671 Interference Blue
pigment, available in art supply stores.
Cool smoke ring toys!
Lava lamp recipes
made by vibrating a mixture of cornstarch and water, a dilatant (shear thickening) fluid.
Running on cornstarch
: a couple of guys running across the surface of a 1 m deep
pool of cornstarch mix. From a Spanish popular science TV show.
Other Flow Vis Galleries
There are a number of flow visualization galleries, both on the Web, and in other publications.
Here is a sampling:
A free resource for fluid dynamics and flow engineering, with a large image gallery, and experiments to try.
The Gallery of Fluid Motion
, a juried show of
flow images held at the annual American Physical Society Division of Fluid Dynamics meeting. Here is a
of images collected
from the Gallery over the past 17 years.
Multi-Media Fluid Mechanics CD-ROM
: This CD is full of great images and clips,
plus intro-level explanations of basic fluids concepts.
An Album of Fluid Motion,
Van Dyke's classic book.
Flow Vis Techniques
Here are some reference texts, and a few websites
on flow visualization techniques:
Merzkirch's classic text.
Professional journals and meetings focused on flow visualization:
Journal of Visualization.
Journal of Flow Visualization and Image Processing.
International Symposium on Flow Visualzation.
Artists using fluid physics
Soap film images.
By Karl E. Deckart, excellent images and good descriptions of the photographic technique.
from Blake Nolan, flow vis class alumnus
Images of droplets and splashes by Martin Waugh, in the
tradition of Worthington and Edgerton.
Images of dyes in water by Stefan Engstrom.
Images of smoke plumes in air by Thomas Herbrich.
The visualization of numerical fluid flow simulations (data visualization) is a whole different direction, but
here are some beautiful representations of fluid physics by Mark Stock.