When viewed in just the right way, Earth is covered in swirling brushstrokes that put Van Gogh’s most famous works to shame. Differences in temperature and pressure, friction and other phenomena cause fluids like water in the ocean and air in the atmosphere to move in mesmerizing patterns. Sometimes it just takes a supercomputer to see the dance.
These images represent the next generation of ocean current models that reveal some of the hidden action. Produced by the Department of Energy’s Los Alamos National Lab, the top image shows Atlantic Ocean water surface temperatures and the bottom illustrates the Southern Ocean’s currents and eddies flowing eastward around Antarctica.
Both are part of the lab’s Climate, Ocean and Sea Ice Modeling program to project global alterations to the planet from climate change using the most advanced technologies and methods. Models were built using a supercomputer that operates 8,000 processors simultaneously and verified against real-world satellite and shipboard observations.