This is definitely a new way to not only look at natural disaster, but every day weather itself. When you watch the weather, you get the top view of clouds or of storms, but by giving the clouds the actual depth they deserve (8 miles in this case), you can see how drastically they change within themselves. This gives the viewers a clearer understanding of what they can expect from clouds and if they are the warning signs to a storm.
This was done through NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission and give more information about the height of thunderclouds and the rainfall rates then ever before. The data was collected by a satellite and has given scientists more information about how intense it actually was. NASA is collaborating with the Japanese Space Agency and they are working on a global precipitation measurement system which provides new data that has scientific and societal benefits. This really indicates how much 3D animation has an impact not only on the entertainment industry, but the scientific one as well.