The View Beneath the Sea: A High-Resolution Animation of Antarctic Currents

3D Animation of deep ocean water around Antarctica.

3D Animation of deep ocean currents around Antarctica.

This amazing animation shows how a changing climate is altering the flow of ocean currents surrounding Antarctica. Using the supercomputer named Raijin, Australia’s National Computational Infrastructure’s VizLab produced the video below.

From NCI’s website:

A remarkably detailed animation of the movement of the densest and coldest water in the world around Antarctica has been produced using data generated on Australia’s most powerful supercomputer, Raijin.

Dr. Andy Hogg, Australian National University (Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, Australian Research Council).

Dr. Andy Hogg, Australian National University (Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science, Australian Research Council).

Chief Investigator, Dr Andy Hogg, from the Australian National University hub of ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science worked with the National Computational Infrastructure’s VizLab team, using a high-resolution ocean model, to produce the animation.

So much data was used, that it took seven hours to process just one second of the animation.

The visualization has revealed underwater ocean storms generated by eddies, waterfalls of cold dense water that plummet two kilometres off the Antarctic Continental Shelf into the abyss and underwater waves hundreds of metres high.

“Scientists who have seen the visualization have been astonished at the level of detail,” said Associate Prof Dr Andy Hogg.

“But this visualization is about more than communicating the wonder of science to the public. Being able to actually see how the bottom water moves in three dimensions rather than just looking at numerical, two dimensional outputs has already opened new areas for scientific research.”

This latest animation peels back much of the surface layer of the ocean to explore how the cold dense water produced on the Antarctic continental shelf spreads out into every ocean basin in the world.

The movement of this dense water is vital. It is the most oxygenated water in the ocean and its extreme density and coldness drive many of the significant currents in the major ocean basins connected to the Southern Ocean.

The distinctly different densities of water that move around Antarctica also make it important in regards to climate change. Because the most dense water forms near the surface of Antarctica before descending to the ocean floor, any warming that occurs near the surface can be drawn down into the deep ocean.

Importantly, this drives more heat and more carbon into the deep ocean that would otherwise have returned to the atmosphere.

“The inhospitable climate of Antarctica and the lack of sustained observations of the ocean in this region over a significant period of times add to the importance of using ocean models to create visualizations like these,” Dr Hogg said.

“It helps us understand what is happening in locations that are difficult to observe and may explain why Antarctic bottom water is disappearing, becoming less saline and warmer. It may give us important insights into a future under climate change.”

Ocean Observations Video Wins Top Prize in Mexico City Competition

Still from "Ocean Observations for the Benefit of Society." (POGO)

Still from “Ocean Observations for the Benefit of Society.” (POGO)

The short video, “Ocean Observations for the Benefit of Society,” took first place in a competition that was part of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) XII Plenary in Mexico City last week. The 3 minute video was produced by The Partnership for Observation of the Global Oceans (POGO), a group founded in 1999 with members from about 40 of the world’s leading oceanographic institutions.

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You can watch the three prize-winning videos on GEO’s site and read coverage of the Mexico City event, here.

How We Can Solve the Syrian Refugee Crisis and Protect America at the Same Time


Texas Senator Ted Cruz believes that allowing “Syrian Muslim refugees” into the United States following last Friday’s ISIS attacks in Paris that left 129 people dead is “absolute lunacy.” Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, another GOP presidential hopeful, was one of the first of 27 governors (all but one, Republicans) who now insist that Syrian refugees are not welcome in their states.

Marco Rubio, the Florida Senator who, like Cruz, wants to be the GOP standard-bearer in next year’s presidential election, had supported offering safe-harbor to Syrians fleeing war. After Paris, however, he’s reversed that position.

“We won’t be able to take more refugees,” a pragmatic Rubio said on Sunday. “It’s not that we don’t want to….It’s that we can’t.”

Rubio explained his change of heart by offering this risk-analysis story problem: “You allow 10,000 people in. And 9,999 of them are innocent people feeling oppression. And one of them is a well-trained ISIS fighter. What if we get one of them wrong? Just one of them wrong.”

I applaud Senator Rubio. His proposal is clearly based on Vice-President Dick Cheney’s “One Percent Doctrine,” which held that any potential terrorist threat that was even 1 percent credible had to be treated as a certainty. One percent may have been good enough in the simpler, more innocent days following 9/11. But as the world has grown more dangerous, Cruz is invoking what, should he become president, will be known as “The 1/100th of One Percent Doctrine.”

Cruz and the others are on to something, but if we really want to keep the Homeland safe, we have to go further. Much further.

Let’s drill down into the threat database

In 2015, 151 people have died in France from terrorism. With a population of 66 million, that gives France a terrorism death rate of .23 per 100,000 residents for the current year.

So far this year, no Americans have died from foreign terrorist attacks carried out on U.S. soil – for a death rate of 0.00 per 100,000 residents.

But threats do remain.

Rubio’s state of Florida has a population of about 20 million and 987 Floridians were murdered with guns in 2010 (the latest year for which statistics are available). That’s a gun murder rate of 3.9 per 100,000. To put that in perspective, the average Floridian is 17 times more likely to be shot to death than a French citizen is to be killed by a terrorist.

Texas, the state served by Senator Cruz (population 25 million), had 1,246 gun deaths, or 3.2 per 100,000 residents. Governor Jindal’s Louisiana ranks first in the nation with a whopping 7.7 gun murders per 100,000 people.

I have a solution that will make Americans safer – especially those living in Florida, Texas, and Louisiana – and destroy ISIS at the same time.

Clearly, Syrian refugees aren’t the problem here. Gun owners are. But they could also be the solution.

Hear me out.

Most gun owners are responsible people. More than that, they are great defenders of the Constitution (at least of the 2nd Amendment) and they proudly declare their patriotism every chance they get. If you’ve ever attended an annual NRA gathering, as I have, you know that there’s more red, white, and blue bunting on display there than at all the 4th of July celebrations across the U.S. put together.

However, as Speaker of the House Paul Ryan wisely pointed out today when calling for a “pause” in the flow of Syrian refugees into this country: “It is better to be safe than sorry.”


So, here is what we do: we must “pause” the citizenship of gun owners and ship them off (fully armed, of course) to Syria. Sure, some of them are bound to be terrorists who will swell the ranks of ISIS. But most are patriotic Americans and they could make the critical difference in toppling the terrorist organization.

I can hear some of you asking: How would that work when we don’t know who owns guns and who doesn’t?

I’m glad you asked that question.

In fact, we have a pretty good idea of likely gun owners. Not perfect, mind you, but, you know, adequate. According to a recent study in Injury Prevention, most gun owners are married white men, aged 55 and older. That narrows the pool considerably. Combine this knowledge with statistics on gun ownership by state, apply that to states with the highest gun murder rates and: Mission Accomplished. In Florida 32.5 percent of residents own guns. The figure is 35.7 percent in Texas and 44.5 percent in Louisiana. All we have to do is round up those percentages of married, white +55 year-old men in each of those states and ship ‘em off to Syria.

To those naïfs and ACLUers whining that my proposal is too extreme, or hard-hearted, or unconstitutional, or unworkable, my response is simple. To paraphrase Senator Rubio: It’s not that I want to do this. It’s that we have to.

You’re welcome.

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