Earth  ID: 3908

ECCO2 Sea Surface Temperature and Flows

Generated for Science On a Sphere show "Loop". This animation depicts the part of Earth's ocean circulation model that involves heat transfer.

In the polar latitudes the ocean loses heat to the atmosphere. Near the equator ocean water warms, and because it is less dense, it remains close to the surface. Cast away from the planet's equator by the winds and Earth's rotation, warm equatorial waters travel on or near the surface of the globe outward toward high latitudes. But as water loses heat to the increasingly cold atmosphere far away from the equator it sinks and pushes other water out of the way. Endlessly, this pump known as Meridional Overturning Circulation, circulates water and heat around the globe. Considering that the ocean stores exponentially more heat than the atmosphere and the fact that they're always in direct contact with each other, there's a strong relationship between oceanic heat and atmospheric circulation.

Visualization Credits

Alex Kekesi (GST): Lead Animator
Greg Shirah (NASA/GSFC): Animator
Horace Mitchell (NASA/GSFC): Animator
Victoria Weeks (HTSI): Video Editor
Michael Starobin (HTSI): Producer
Michael Starobin (HTSI): Writer
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

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Data Used:
ECCO2 High Resolution Ocean and Sea Ice Model 1/1/04 - 9/30/04
Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details nor the data sets themselves on our site.

This item is part of this series:
Science On a Sphere

DLESE >> Physical oceanography
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Oceans
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Oceans >> Ocean Circulation
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Oceans >> Ocean Heat Budget
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Oceans >> Ocean Temperature
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Oceans >> Ocean Chemistry >> Ocean Tracers
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Oceans >> Ocean Circulation >> Ocean Currents
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Oceans >> Ocean Temperature >> Sea Surface Temperature
NASA Science >> Earth

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version