Perpetual Ocean- visualization of ocean surface currents

This visualization shows ocean surface currents around the world during the period from June 2005 – December 2007. The goal was to use ocean flow data to create a simple, visceral experience.

NASA’s model of ocean currents looks like Van Gogh’s ‘The Starry Night’.

Van Gogh's The Starry Night

The visualization does not include a narration or annotations.

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. The dark patterns under the ocean represent the undersea bathymetry. Topographic land exaggeration is 20x and bathymetric exaggeration is 40x.

Perpetual Ocean- visualization of ocean surface currents

credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio