Perpetual Ocean

  • Released Monday, August 15th, 2011
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 1:53PM
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This visualization shows ocean surface currents around the world during the period from June 2005 through December 2007. The visualization does not include a narration or annotations; the goal was to use ocean flow data to create a simple, visceral experience.

This visualization was produced using model output from the joint MIT/JPL project: Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean, Phase II or ECCO2. ECCO2 uses the MIT general circulation model (MITgcm) to synthesize satellite and in-situ data of the global ocean and sea-ice at resolutions that begin to resolve ocean eddies and other narrow current systems, which transport heat and carbon in the oceans. ECCO2 provides 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.

This visualization was shown at the SIGGRAPH Asia 2012 Computer Animation Festival.


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Twenty minute version of ocean flows at 30 frames per second. This version does not include the 'speed ups', labels, narration, or soundtrack from Perpetual Ocean.

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NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio


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