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Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Visualising earth's tides

NASA's Scientific VIsualisation Studio produced this video demonstrating how the earths tides ebb and flow around the world. It doesn't include narration or annotation because, they explain, 'The goal was to use ocean flow data to create a simple, visceral experience'.

The visualisation shows ocean surface currents around the world during the period from June 2005 through Decmeber 2007 - these firgures are plotted into a computer that takes in shed loads of data and outputs pretty things like this - I love when computers do that. The computational model is called Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean, Phase II (ECCO2 for short).

It can calculate ocean flow at all depths but this particular video shows only surface flows. NASA describe it as a '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 dark areas under the ocean rshow the the undersea bathymetry (basically the opposite of topography). The bathymetry and land topography are exaggerated to enhance the contrast - bathymetry by 20 times and topography by 40 times.

Details of the video:

Animators:Greg Shirah (NASA/GSFC) (Lead)

Horace Mitchell (NASA/GSFC)
Video Editor:Victoria Weeks (HTSI)
Scientists:Hong Zhang (UCLA)

Dimitris Menemenlis (NASA/JPL CalTech)
Platforms/Sensors/Data Sets:GTOPO30 Topography and Bathymetry

Hipparcos/Tycho 2 Catalogue

ECCO2 High Resolution Ocean and Sea Ice Model (06/2006 - 12/2007)

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