Saturday, April 7, 2012

System Earth

Ocean Currents
Have you ever considered the earth a single living system? The concept of a living, self-regulating earth is known as the Gaia Hypothesis.
Gaia Hypothesis
The Gaia Hypothesis proposes that all organisms and their inorganic surroundings on Earth are closely integrated to form a single and self-regulating complex system, maintaining the conditions for life on the planet.
~ Gaia Hypothesis, from Wikipedia.
NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio produced a visualization of ocean surface currents around the world from June 2005 through December 2007 titled Perpetual Ocean (shown below). This stunningly beautiful animation seems to communicate to us like a living organism.

This visual representation of surface currents was produced from the output of an ECCO2 model. ECCO2 uses a general circulation model known as MITgcm to synthesize satellite and in-situ data. The level of detail in the data enables the resolution of ocean eddies and currents.
We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch - we are going back from whence we came.
~ John F. Kennedy
The Gaia Hypothesis was formulated by scientist and futurologist James Lovelock and co-developed by American microbiologist Lynn Margulis in the 1970s. The Gaia Hypothesis, initially met with hostility in the scientific community, is now a widely accepted field of study in geophysiology and Earth System Science.

The massive whirlpools of ocean currents are reminiscent of the luminous swirling stars in the painting The Starry Night by Dutch post-impressionist Vincent van Gogh.
Ocean Currents

The Starry Night (detail)