The ocean in motion

This time-lapse video showing the world’s ocean currents was created by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.  You can see the Gulf Stream and all the other major ocean currents.   The oceans cover three-quarters of our planet, and their dynamics are worth a look.

It makes me think about the days when sailors crossed the oceans with nothing but wind and currents to move their ships.  You can see the route that Columbus must have taken.  You can see the Triangular Trade of trade goods from New England to west Africa, slaves from west Africa to the West Indies and rum back to New England.   You can see the routes by which Thor Heyerdahl thought Polynesia might have been settled from South America.   In our age of aviation and fuel-powered ships, humans no longer depend on these currents for travel, but they still shape our weather and climate.

Click on NASA Goddard Scientific Visualization Studio for more visualizations.

Click on Perpetual Ocean for technical details about how the video was made.

Hat tip to Boing Boing.

NASA’s visualization reminds me of a painting by Vincent Van Gogh

Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” painted in 1889

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