Seeing Ghosts

By Daniel de la Calle

Over the past few days you might have read about a Japanese “ghost ship”, a victim of last year’s tsunami, that just reached British Columbia. Experts expected most of the 20 million tons of debris from the natural disaster (about the size of California!) to arrive to the other side of the Pacific by 2014, but sea currents have obviously been faster than previously thought.

Watch THIS video.
We tend to ignore the importance and extent of sea currents.  Up until now they were invisible, ghostly too, even if their presence and influence is felt everywhere: in sailing, shipping, fishing, in weather patterns thousands of miles offshore, in migratory routes.  Thanks to NASA, the invisible turns now visible in this astounding footage that reveals massive currents, siphon flows in the Gulf of Mexico, linked vortex that evoke Van Gogh’s Starry Night along the African coast.  You can even see the current that over 365 days relentlessly cradled the mystery ship from Asia to America.

As a footnote, this visualization and all the information coming from the NASA/JPS computational model called “Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean, Phase II” (ECCO2) will be very valuable in the study of Ocean Acidification, climate change and pollution control.

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