Frequently Asked Questions

Below are some answers to the most frequent questions we receive from users. More information is also available on our About page.

Fluid Earth Viewer (FEVer) is an interactive web application that allows you to visualize current and past conditions of Earth’s atmosphere and oceans. You can use FEVer to learn about the atmosphere and oceans by exploring the daily conditions in places where you live, work, and play or examining whole regions of the planet over years. In particular, FEVer provides hands-on visualizations of conditions in polar regions, changes they are undergoing, and connections between polar regions and the rest of the planet. Built on an open-source application, FEVer is a vehicle for modern Earth science communication, making information used by the scientific community accessible and engaging to everyone. FEVer is explorable 24 hours a day, 7 days a week using your computer, tablet, and smartphone.
The moving lines are used to show movement of air in the atmosphere (wind) and movement of water in the oceans (currents). Longer lines denote higher wind and current speeds. The moving lines are called vectors and provide you with a sense of the dynamic nature of Earth’s atmosphere and oceans.
Fluid Earth Viewer displays current conditions of the atmosphere and oceans, updated once every six hours (at UTC 0, 6, 12, and 18). Therefore, each day you are given four looks at conditions, one every six hours. The most recent conditions are displayed as the default. Fluid Earth Viewer also saves data from previous days, so you can look at the weather from yesterday or last year, and provides forecasts for the next few days, so you can look at the weather you are likely to encounter tomorrow. Current conditions and forecasts are created using a combination of actual observations and, to provide data between those observations, computer models.
For those users who are professional scientists, we should clarify that Fluid Earth Viewer uses model-analyzed fields. In other words, these are observation-based fields that have been interpolated to model grids to provide coverage for the entire globe.
FEVer utilizes an enormous amount of scientifically complex data, allowing you to explore the interconnectedness of weather and climate, including between polar regions and the rest of the planet.

Data sets include:

  • Weather Data: GFS (Global Forecast System)
  • Ocean Currents Data: OSCAR
  • Sea Surface Temperature: RTGSST (Real Time Global Sea Surface Temperature)
  • Aerosols and Chemistry GEOS-5 (Goddard Earth Observing System)
UTC stands for Coordinated Universal Time and is a commonly used time standard around the world. Many systems, such as computers that analyze data from Earth's atmosphere and oceans, operate around the world in different places. These places often have different local time zones. To avoid confusion of needing to keep track of all of the local time zones of the various computers that are communicating, systems are set to communicate in UTC rather than local times. If you have ever tried to call a friend living on the other side of the ocean, you have encountered this problem. If you agree to call them at 9 am, does that mean 9 am your local time or 9 am their local time. If you say 9 UTC, both of you know exactly what time you are going to talk. Rather than using am and pm, UTC continues to count hours after noon as 13, 14, 15 and so on.