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Maximizing Knowledge of Remote Oceans

Supercomputers are producing estimates of ocean conditions with greatly increased accuracy


With 97 percent of earth's water, the oceans play a pivotal role in climate. But the high cost of observing their vast area leaves serious gaps in information about their temperature, motion, salinity and other factors. Researchers in the Consortium for Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean are merging sparse observations of the Southern Ocean with a state-of-the-art ocean circulation model (MITgcm) running on the San Diego Supercomputer Center's DataStar supercomputer to produce estimates of ocean conditions of greatly increased accuracy. The map shows the speed of the clockwise Antarctic Circumpolar current on May 12, 2006, increasing from slow-moving blue water to dark red indicating speeds above one mile per hour. This research was supported by the National Ocean Partnership Program. The National Science Foundation is the primary funding source for the SDSC. [Image taken from the San Diego Supercomputer Center Multimedia Gallery.] (Date of Image: 2008)

Credit: Image courtesy M. Mazloff, MIT; Source: San Diego Supercomputer Center, UC San Diego

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