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[1.8x - 1.11x] Kerbal Weather Project (KWP) v1.0.0


cmet24
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While KSP simulates atmospheres with variable depths and densities it lacks dynamic weather limiting its utility as tool for exploring concepts in atmospheric science.  Kerbal Weather Project was developed to remedy this.  In KWP, weather and climate data from a state-of-the-art global circulation model was incorporated into KSP gameplay. This was accomplished through a global hourly climatology, enabling players to experience diurnal and spatial variations in atmospheric conditions. In addition, point weather data is provided for Kerbin launch sites, giving players the option of experiencing dynamic weather conditions that change from day to day. KWP features a text-based GUI showing remotely sensed weather data (in space) and in situ weather data (in the atmosphere). 

Compatibility

KWP works with stock KSP and should work with the vast majority of KSP mods. KWP has been tested, without major issues, in a KSP 1.10 playthrough with 220 other popular KSP mods. That said, KWP may conflict with mods like real heat or deadly reentry that modify the stock game's aerodynamic or thermodynamic system. KWP can still be used with these mods as KWP's override of the stock thermodynamic system can be disabled in the settings menu. 

KWP is compatible with the aerodynamics overhaul: Ferram Aerospace Research (FAR). Note that since FAR overrides KSP's thermodynamic system, pressure and temperature data from KWP will not affect flight dynamics when FAR is installed. Note that FAR may not be compatible with the latest version of KSP.

Background
Kerbin weather and climate analyses were produced using the Model for Prediction Across Scales (MPAS; Skamarock et al., 2012) a state-of-the-art atmospheric general circulation model developed by the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).

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MPAS was run for six-years (1st year: spin-up) at a resolution of 2 x 2 decimal degrees. Fortunately, Kerbin’s atmosphere has the same chemical composition as Earth’s. In MPAS, terrain and biome data from KSP were used to classify land use, vegetation type, green fraction, and other geographical datasets.

In addition to land surface modifications, several changes to MPAS were made to enable more realistic simulations of Kerbin's atmosphere. These changes are listed below:

  • Axial obliquity was set to zero.
  • Orbital eccentricity was set to zero.
  • The solar constant was set to 1360 W/m2
  • The day length was set to six hours (21600 s)
  • The Coriolis parameter was multiplied by four.

An hourly global climatology of Kerbin was developed by averaging the results of the five-year MPAS simulation, by the hour. Results from this simulation were incorporated into the game via KWP. 

Required Mods

Recommended Mods

  • Kerbinside Remastered - adds launch sites compatible with KWP.
    • Note that the lite version of KWP does not include weather data at Kerbinside launch sites.
  • KerBalloons  - Launch weather balloons!
  • Atmospheric Autopilot - makes flying during windy conditions a little easier.

Downloads and Installation Instructions 

Full Version (84 MB): High resolution climatology, 5-years of weather data at stock and Kerbinside launch sites.

GitHub: https://github.com/cmac994/KerbalWeatherProject/tree/master

Spacedock: https://spacedock.info/mod/2607/Kerbal Weather Project

Lite Version (13 MB): Low resolution climatology, 1-year of weather data at stock launch sites.

GitHub: https://github.com/cmac994/KerbalWeatherProject/tree/lite

Spacedock: https://spacedock.info/mod/2611/Kerbal Weather Project - Lite

See the links above for information on how to install KWP. Alternatively, you can just use CKAN.

KWP Animations

Weather Animations

Simulated Infrared  (IR) Satellite Imagery for Kerbin (Each Frame = 1 day)

 Light colors = high clouds or cold surface; Dark colors = low clouds or warm surface 

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Precipitable Water (PW) on Kerbin (Each Frame = 1 day)

 Note vortices of high PW in tropics... those are tropical cyclones (hurricanes)!

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Upper level winds on Kerbin (Each Frame = 1 day)

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Surface Temperature on Kerbin (Each Frame = 1 day)

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Climatological Animations

Average Temperature by Height

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Average Wind Speed by Height

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If the above charts are bit challenging to decipher check out the chart interpretation page on the mod webpage.

KWP Gameplay 

A crewed weather balloon being carried away from the launchpad by northeasterly trade winds.

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An uncrewed glider flies into a strong headwind and ends up traveling retrograde!

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A polar orbiting satellite passes over the KSC providing remote sensing weather data along its track

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SRB Recovery with and without wind.

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Additional Information

For more screenshots, animations, and information about KWP check out the official mod webpage. The science behind KWP, as well as its potential as an educational tool, will be presented at the 101st Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) in January 2021.  A link to the AMS poster presentation is provided here. In addition to weather and climate analysis, the mod webpage provides several demonstrations detailing the effects of KWP on atmospheric flight and reentry. A series of short-stories are also included to highlight how KWP can be used for both shenanigans and serious science! 

What KWP Does:

  • Adds climate and weather data to the stock game
    • Climate data varies geographically, vertically, and diurnally. 
    • Point weather data varies with height and time and is valid only for a fixed location. 
  • Modifies air pressure, density, and temperature on Kerbin affecting the aerodynamics and thermodynamics of flight.
    • The scale height of the KWP atmosphere is higher (8.5 km) than in the stock atmosphere (5.6 km). Consequently, air pressure and density will decrease more slowly with height when playing with KWP enabled. This makes re-entry and SSTOs a little more challenging. As noted above, if you'd prefer KWP not affect KSP aerodynamic and thermodynamics this can be selected in the KWP settings menu. 
  • Provides a text-based GUI for visualizing ambient weather, vehicle velocity, ground track, vehicle relative winds, and aerodynamic variables (e.g. mach number, shock temperature, etc.)

What KWP Does NOT Do:

  • At present, KWP does not add any parts or new visual effects to the game. KWP provides a framework for understanding what the weather on a planet with Kerbin's geography and orbital characteristics might look like. The results of the MPAS simulations (detailed on the mod webpage) could provide inspiration for fellow modders to create more realistic cloud cover and visual effects for Kerbin. 
  • KWP does not include orographic circulations or other small-scale circulations (e.g. thunderstorm cells). This is a limitatoin of the coarse resolution MPAS simulations from which KWP was derived. In KWP vertical wind speeds are typically very small (< 1 m/s) so unforutnately, aspiring glider pilots will not be able to stay aloft indefinitely by riding the wind.

Future Work

KWP provides a framework for implementing weather in the stock game. A rudimentary weather and climate API has been included with KWP.  With this foundation laid it is my hope that real-world science missions, like the Global Precipitation Measurement Mission (GPM) and the Geostationary Operational Environment Satellite (GOES-R), could one day be emulated in KSP or KSP2.  Mods such as SCANSat and Orbital Survey Plus may be one way to realize this concept in KSP, by facilitating the mapping and visualization of climate data for science. Other possibilities include real-time charting or logging of weather balloon sounding data, similar to what is performed twice daily here on Earth. These pursuits could serve as educational tools for teaching basic concepts in atmospheric science. 

Acknowledgements 

  • KSP Developer Squad and KSP creator Felipe Falanghe.
  • KSP modding community - specifically forum users @linuxgurugamer, @JoePatrick1, @Fengist, @DaMichel, @NathanKell, and @DMagic. These mod developers, by publishing their code publicly, provided a valuable teaching tool which facilitated many of the advancements implemented in KWP. Without their prior work, incorporating weather data into KSP would have been exceedingly difficult.

License: MIT

Edited by cmet24
Fix user mentions (@) links.
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Hello @cmet24, and welcome to the forums!  :)

This mod looks amazing-- how much time did you put into it?

(On a side note-- I see from SpaceDock that it looks as though this mod is licensed MIT.  Could you please add a note to that effect somewhere in the OP above?  Sufficient just to say "License: MIT" somewhere.)

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WWWWHHHHHHHHHHHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAATTTTTTTTTTTTT!!!!!!!!?!?!?!?!!!!!!?????!?!??!?????!!!!!!! Weather in KSP? That's incredible! It actually makes it so that launch conditions matter! This is INSAAAAAANE! 

(sorry  this kind of just blew my mind)

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Just now, Kerminator K-100 said:

It looks like its just wind for now but also weather as a future update! Fingers crossed!

I am still genuinely gobsmacked at how impressive this is.  It would be cool to see the cyclones integrated and plugged into EVE

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13 minutes ago, Spaceman.Spiff said:

It would be cool to see the cyclones integrated and plugged into EVE

Hold up... cyclones?

Excuse me a minute.

THIS MOD IS AMAZING!!

On that note, what is the CPU hit?

1 hour ago, cmet24 said:

For more screenshots, animations, and information about KWP check out the official mod webpage. The science behind KWP, as well as its potential as an educational tool, will be presented at the 101st Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) in January 2021.

Wow, you are really serious about this! I saw this on the website but didn't exactly understand what it was.

Also will this work with Kerbalism?

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You mentioned planet packs. Is it possible for creators to update the climate model with their own planets, or do we just need to have it use Kerbin data? Speaking of, I'm assuming that overrides temperature, but how about pressure?

On a somewhat related note, any plans to bring it to Eve/Duna/Laythe (or is it already and just not mentioned)?

Edit: Just noticed the website link, looks like recalculating it would be impossible on normal computers; it'd take months to do on mine based on how long it took on the absolute monster you used. I'd suggest a version on the website that exports some datafile that the mod can use and that runs the sim on some online server, but those cost money.

Edited by WarriorSabe
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Is this compatible with FAR? (I'm also getting KerBalloons again, I miss that mod deeply and just learned it's been revived through this mod.)

Edited by bobby72006
Changing what I said in my parenthesis so that I don't sound dickish and false.
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@cmet24 Does this mod have anyway to interface and give me the wind, temperature and moisture and solar light strength at a specific location on the surface?

edit: you mention a Climate API but it is not mentioned in the Wiki anywhere

Edited by FreeThinker
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17 minutes ago, bobby72006 said:

Is this compatible with FAR? (I'm also getting KerBalloons again, I miss that mod deeply and just learned it's been revived through this mod.)

Yes. From the post:

 

1 hour ago, cmet24 said:

KWP is compatible with the aerodynamics overhaul: Ferram Aerospace Research (FAR). Note that since FAR overrides KSP's thermodynamic system, pressure and temperature data from KWP will not affect flight dynamics when FAR is installed. Note that FAR may not be compatible with the latest version of KSP.

 

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This is pretty incredible. I might have to scrub launches because of high-altitude winds now!

How difficult would it be for users to run MPAS simulations of other Earth-like worlds and input the results into KWP, and might EVE integration come soon?

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Just now, Clamp-o-Tron said:

 

How difficult would it be for users to run MPAS simulations of other Earth-like worlds and input the results into KWP, and might EVE integration come soon?

From what I've heard, it took 30 hours  (for a FULL climate model) on this machine: unknown.png?width=1439&height=496

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2 hours ago, CessnaSkyhawk said:

Any idea if this might work with a rescaled Kerbin (2.5x specifically)?

 

I tested in mine 2.7x rescale and it worked, IDK if worked properly but worked

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I see this mod is listed as 1.8 to 1.11 compatible, but would the version of kerballoons linked above work in 1.10? I'd like to try this mod, and kerballoons but i'm still playing in the previous version, as there are several core mods I use that haven't been upgraded to 1.11 yet. 

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