<p>No, that’s not an animated version of <i>Starry Night</i>, that’s just footage of the world’s oceans.</p>
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio have just released what could be something out of van Gogh’s workspace. Actually an animated visualization of ocean surface currents from June 2005 through December 2007, “Perpetual Ocean” uses ocean flow data to create a visceral experience.
This visualization was produced using NASA/JPL’s computational model called Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean, Phase II or ECCO2. ECCO2 is 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 ECCO2 model simulates 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 40×.
Created as a last minute entry for the SIGGRAPH 2011 computer animation festival, the visualization was weirdly not accepted.
Want to zone out to some ocean waves? Download a 20 minute version of the video here.