With some of the best data on natural systems available, NASA has all the right tools to create stunning pieces of educational art — helping us better visualize how earth and the universe function.
The agency is always good for mind-blowing images and video, and the latest set of visualizations is one of my favorite yet. Animators at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center recently released a couple animations of ocean surface currents that illustrate how heat patterns and carbon flow through the sea.
With the oceans now a net sink of carbon dioxide — a complete reversal of the carbon cycle in 200 years — researchers around the world are focusing on how that change will impact the marine environment.
ECCO model-data syntheses are being used to quantify the ocean’s role in the global carbon cycle, to understand the recent evolution of the polar oceans, to monitor time-evolving heat, water, and chemical exchanges within and between different components of the Earth system, and for many other science applications.
The video below illustrates sea surface current flows and temperature data. It does not model how CO2 moves through the deep ocean, which researchers are still trying to get a handle on.