Originally expelled from the earth's cooling interior and modified over time from carbon dioxide to the oxygen rich admixture we refer to as fresh air, the atmosphere protects life from a constant cosmic gale of deadly, charged particles and sustains life's photosynthetic and respiratory processes. Animated by millions of lightning bolts and thousands of storms every day the atmospheric currents swirl in tandem with the ocean's currents to distribute heat and water vapor in a constant process of disequilibrium, otherwise known as the weather.
1. Wind Direction
NOAA CDC, CIRES, NCAR, & NOAA NCDC, "Zonal wind component" in COADS monthly climatology dataset. Available at Live Access to the National Virtual Ocean Data Systems (NVODS), http://ferret.pmel.noaa.gov/NVODS/UI.vm (accessed November 11, 2014).
2. Tropical Storm & Hurricane Paths
NOAA Office for Coastal Management Digital Coast, "Historical Hurricane Tracks," https://coast.noaa.gov/hurricanes/?redirect=301ocm (accessed November 11, 2014).
3. Underlying cloud image
Images created by Marit Jentoft-Nilsen (image) & Robert Simmon (globes), based on data from the MODIS, MOPITT, MISR, ASTER, and CERES science teams. Available at http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=42805 (accessed December 2, 2014).
Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, "The Biodiversity Hotspots," http://www.cepf.net/resources/hotspots/pages/default.aspx (accessed July 1, 2014). Data made available under the Creative Commons BY-SA 4.0 License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode.