NASA video visualizes a 'Perpetual Ocean'

Using high-resolution computer animation, NASA creates a two-year time lapse of the world's ocean and sea currents.

NASA computer visualization of ocean currents in the Gulf Stream. NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

NASA has released a computer visualization project called "Perpetual Ocean" that presents a data-created time lapse of the Earth's ocean and sea surface currents over a two-year period.

The animation (see below) shows the globe slowly spinning as white swirls curl and move in the water around landmasses. It looks as if Vincent van Gogh had painted into the oceans -- from the Gulf of Mexico to the Indian Ocean to the Black Sea.

Using NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory's computational model called Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean Phase II (ECCO2), scientists simulated the world's oceans and seas' surface flows from June 2005 through December 2007.

Typically, NASA uses ECCO2 to model global ocean and sea-ice to better understand ocean eddies and other current systems that move heat and carbon in the oceans. The end goal is to study the ocean's role in future climate change scenarios.

Tags:
Sci-Tech
NASA
About the author

Dara Kerr is a staff writer for CNET focused on the sharing economy and tech culture. She grew up in Colorado where she developed an affinity for collecting fool's gold and spirit animals.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Show Comments Hide Comments
Latest Galleries from CNET
Tech industry's high-flying 2014
Uber's tumultuous ups and downs in 2014 (pictures)
The best and worst quotes of 2014 (pictures)
A roomy range from LG (pictures)
This plain GE range has all of the essentials (pictures)
Sony's 'Interview' heard 'round the world (pictures)