Journal cover Journal topic
Nonlinear Processes in Geophysics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 22, 545-570, 2015
© Author(s) 2015. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Review article
23 Sep 2015
Review: visual analytics of climate networks
T. Nocke1, S. Buschmann2, J. F. Donges1,3, N. Marwan1, H.-J. Schulz4, and C. Tominski5 1Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Telegrafenberg A31, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
2Hasso Plattner Institute, Prof.-Dr.-Helmert-Str. 2–3, 14482 Potsdam-Babelsberg, Germany
3Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University, Kräftriket 2B, 114 19 Stockholm, Sweden
4Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research, Joachim-Jungius-Str. 11, 18059 Rostock, Germany
5Institute for Computer Science, University of Rostock, Albert-Einstein-Str. 22, 18059 Rostock, Germany
Abstract. Network analysis has become an important approach in studying complex spatiotemporal behaviour within geophysical observation and simulation data. This new field produces increasing numbers of large geo-referenced networks to be analysed. Particular focus lies currently on the network analysis of the complex statistical interrelationship structure within climatological fields. The standard procedure for such network analyses is the extraction of network measures in combination with static standard visualisation methods. Existing interactive visualisation methods and tools for geo-referenced network exploration are often either not known to the analyst or their potential is not fully exploited. To fill this gap, we illustrate how interactive visual analytics methods in combination with geovisualisation can be tailored for visual climate network investigation. Therefore, the paper provides a problem analysis relating the multiple visualisation challenges to a survey undertaken with network analysts from the research fields of climate and complex systems science. Then, as an overview for the interested practitioner, we review the state-of-the-art in climate network visualisation and provide an overview of existing tools. As a further contribution, we introduce the visual network analytics tools CGV and GTX, providing tailored solutions for climate network analysis, including alternative geographic projections, edge bundling, and 3-D network support. Using these tools, the paper illustrates the application potentials of visual analytics for climate networks based on several use cases including examples from global, regional, and multi-layered climate networks.

Citation: Nocke, T., Buschmann, S., Donges, J. F., Marwan, N., Schulz, H.-J., and Tominski, C.: Review: visual analytics of climate networks, Nonlin. Processes Geophys., 22, 545-570,, 2015.
Publications Copernicus
Short summary
The paper reviews the available visualisation techniques and tools for the visual analysis of geo-physical climate networks. The results from a questionnaire with experts from non-linear physics are presented, and the paper surveys recent developments from information visualisation and cartography with respect to their applicability for visual climate network analytics. Several case studies based on own solutions illustrate the potentials of state-of-the-art network visualisation technology.
The paper reviews the available visualisation techniques and tools for the visual analysis of...