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SIGGRAPH to feature work by NCSA visualization team

Two data-driven visualizations created by NCSA’s Advanced Visualization Laboratory for the immersive digital full-dome production “Dynamic Earth” will be shown as part of the SIGGRAPH 2012 Computer Animation Festival this August in Los Angeles.

“Volcano Sapas Mons on Venus” takes viewers across the blighted landscape of Earth’s neighbor to the Sapas Mons crater, where twin volcanos spew smoke and lava. NASA’s Magellan Mission to Venus provided data about the topography of Venus, and scientist David Grinspoon from the Denver Museum advised the AVL team.

The second visualization to be showcased at SIGGRAPH shows Hurricane Katrina building strength over the Gulf of Mexico. A hurricane research team led by Wei Wang at the National Center for Atmospheric Research computed the evolution of the storm using a complex numerical weather prediction model. Running this mathematical model on NCAR’s Bluefire supercomputer yielded terabytes of data, which AVL then transformed into a striking animation of the 36-hour period when the storm is gaining energy over the warm ocean. Volume-rendered clouds show abundant moisture. Trajectories follow moist air rising into intense “hot tower” thunderstorms and trace strong winds around the eye wall. The sun, moon, and stars show the passage of time.

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