28 March 2012

CRAAZY CURRENTS

World Ocean currents. Click for larger view. Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio.
NASA/Goddard has stunning images up at their Scientific Visualization Studio showing sea surface currents colored by sea surface temperature data. From the explainer:


This visualization was produced using NASA/JPL's computational model called Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean, Phase II or ECCO2. ECCO2 is high resolution model of the global ocean and sea-ice. ECCO2 attempts to model the oceans and sea ice to increasingly accurate resolutions that begin to resolve ocean eddies and other narrow-current systems which transport heat and carbon in the oceans.The ECCO2 model simulates ocean flows at all depths, but only surface flows are used in this visualization.

Pacific Ocean currents. Click for larger view. Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio.


Here's the insanely beautiful eddies of my home ocean, the Pacific. Note the superhighways of the Equatorial currents that run so much of Earth's climate via the El Niño/La Niña-Southern OscillationAnd note the powerful Kuroshio Current off Japan (upper left) currently carrying that nation's tsunami debris towards North America.


North Atlantic Ocean currents. Click for larger view. Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio.
  
In this view of the North Atlantic you can see the data-rich regions—the places where oceanographers have been cranking out the studies for decades—throughout the Caribbean and up the Gulf Stream through to the North Atlantic Drift en route to Europe.

  
Indian Ocean currents. Click for larger view. Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio.

What pops for me in this Indian Ocean image is the crazy interference patterns around the Cape of Good Hope (bottom left quadrant) where the Benguela and the powerful Agulhas currents spin up some stuff known as mesoscale eddies... and the way those ripple through the system into the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.




The movement in the animation is subtle and hypnotic.
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