Energy and Environment Reporting for Texas

Van Gogh on the Water: Visualizing Ocean Currents

Ocean currents may seem like a far away thing for Texans from the Hill Country to the High Plains, but weather patterns in the seas have an important effect on the state’s climate. The record single-year Texas drought, for instance, was mostly due to back-to-back years of La Niña, a weather pattern where the surface temperatures are cooler in the Pacific, which creates drier, warmer weather in the southern U.S. And those surface temperatures are influenced by ocean currents.

But despite the havoc they wreak, ocean currents and temperatures can be a beautiful thing. Artistic, even. As you can see in a new video by NASA, when you put the data behind ocean currents in motion, it becomes a van Gogh-esque vision.

NASA assembled the video, titled ‘Perpetual Ocean,’ from “ocean surface currents around the world during the period from June 2005 through December 2007,” according to its webpage. “The visualization does not include a narration or annotations; the goal was to use ocean flow data to create a simple, visceral experience.”

You can read more at the NASA website. 


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