Watch NASA's Animation of the World's Ocean Surface Currents

NASA ocean current visualization NASA/Public Domain

Rarely since those long-ago collegiate hours spent hazily observing the shifting contours of Windows Media Player in visualization mode have I been so hypnotized by an animation. And this one's a hell of a lot more substantial than greenish lines dancing along to some Radiohead song.

See, NASA scientists teamed up with a group of animators to produce the following depiction of ocean surface currents around the world, using ocean flow data from June 2005 to December 2007. Watch:

Grist explains more:

The tool NASA used to make the visualization — ECCO2 or Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean ... “attempts to model the oceans and sea ice to increasingly accurate resolutions that begins to resolve ocean eddies and other narrow-current systems which transport heat and carbon in the oceans.” In other words, it’s the sort of model that can help scientists understand how carbon concentrations and climate change will affect the planet.
Plus, it offers the added bonus of offering the viewer a unique window into the complex nature of ocean currents. Now if only we could replace that generic soundtrack with something from Kid A ...

Tags: Global Climate Change | Global Warming Effects | Global Warming Science


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