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Real-Time Simulation of Cumulus Clouds through SkewT/LogP Diagrams

Duarte, R. P. Duarte ; Gomes, A.

Computers and Graphics Vol. 67, Nº 2017, pp. 103 - 114, October, 2017.

ISSN (print): 0097-8493
ISSN (online):

Journal Impact Factor: 1,176 (in 2016)

Digital Object Identifier:

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Modeling, simulation, and realistic rendering of natural phenomena have been important goals in computer graphics for decades. Clouds, as a natural phenomenon, represent a real challenge because their birth, life, and death are amorphous and dynamic in nature. As a consequence, cloud simulation is very time-consuming when using physically-based methods.
This paper presents a real-time cloud simulation method based on SkewT/LogP diagrams to overcome this time performance problem.
These diagrams allow us to simulate 3D clouds from sounding data made public worldwide by weather agencies.
More specifically, a SkewT/LogP diagram describes the vertical motion of a cloud in the atmosphere, i.e., our cloud simulator system is based on physics but avoids solving differential equations of cloud motion to achieve real-time rates.
We have also built a visual tool for 2D SkewT/LogP diagrams that allows us to inspect, control and simulate the thermodynamic process of ascending clouds in the atmosphere, as well as a 3D synthetic environment where clouds are advected by buoyant forces. This lightweight physically-based technique enables the incorporation of our cloud simulator in systems tied to important industries, namely movies, virtual environments, and video games.