Tag Archives: NASA

Perpetual Ocean

Vincent van Gogh, The Starry Night. Oil on can...
Vincent van Gogh, The Starry Night. Oil on canvas, 73×92 cm, 28¾×36¼ in.

A fantastic visualization by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre of the ocean surface currents around the world. The Gulf Stream, the Labrador Current, the Agulhas current, can all be seen (even though they are part of the thermohaline circulation system) and remind one of Van Gogh’s Starry Night.

Of particular interest are the localised but still large-scale Eddie currents existing within or spinning the larger currents.

Earliest known map of the Gulf Stream
Earliest known map of the Gulf Stream (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Gulf stream map
Gulf stream map (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Salt of the Earth

EDIT: Yes, this post has been published twice. There was a backend problem on WordPress. Sorry.

NASA just released a cool new map of the world’s ocean’s salinity. I wish we could see the North Atlantic in better detail. It’s still early days for this though so there’ll be more to come. I look forward to seeing more detail for the North East Atlantic, English Channel, Mediterranean etc.

“On the colorful map, yellow and red represent areas of higher salinity (or salt content), with blues and purples indicating areas of lower salinity. Areas colored black are gaps in the data.

Known as Aquarius, the instrument is making NASA’s first space observations of salinity variations on the ocean surface — a key component of Earth’s climate that influences ocean circulation and is linked to the cycling of freshwater around the planet.

So far, the instrument is performing better than NASA scientists expected. The new map was made from Aquarius’s first two-and-a-half weeks of data.

[ ...]

The new Aquarius map reveals predominantly well-known ocean salinity features, such as higher salinity in the subtropics, higher average salinity in the Atlantic compared with the Pacific and Indian oceans, and lower salinity in rainy belts near the equator, the northernmost Pacific Ocean and elsewhere.

These features are related to large-scale patterns of rainfall and evaporation over the ocean, river outflow and ocean circulation. Aquarius is built to monitor how these features change over time, and study their link to climate and weather variations.”

From: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/aquarius/multimedia/gallery/pia14786.html.