Now *That* got my Students' Attention

To begin my lecture on gyres and surface currents this morning, I showed them this image.

This data, collected by our colleagues at Cape Fear Community College, definitely got their attention. This is especially noteworthy because we’re getting towards the end of the semester where students are dealing with all kinds of assignments and are just trying to survive. A lecture about gyres and the differences between strong and swift western boundary currents and weak and meandering eastern boundary currents that is usually met with bored indifference was suddenly incredibly relevant.

That track was made in two months folks! Heck, I had no idea the Gulf Stream was *that* fast.

Here’s the same data with current SST data behind it.

Does anybody know where I can get a kml file showing higher resolution SST data for the North Atlantic that would show all of the eddies in more detail?

I did find this kml file, but it is from 2005 and the location of the eddies is quite different.


5 Responses to Now *That* got my Students' Attention

  1. Tora Johnson November 19, 2009 at 4:57 pm #

    Fred, I’ve recently worked out how to bring remote sensing data into Google Earth using images exported from other software. For example, I’ve been using ArcGIS to symbolize and export Landsat images that I then overlay in Google Earth. The process has its issues, but you can control the resolution and color of the images, and you can use any data you can get your hands on. It only takes a few minutes, as long as you know how to set up the images properly.

    Maybe I should do a webinar about how to do that.

  2. Fred November 19, 2009 at 4:59 pm #

    Yes Please!

  3. Deidre Sullivan November 19, 2009 at 7:50 pm #

    Wow, that is a wonderful contrast showing the difference between eastern and western boundary currents. I will check with a few people on getting a current high res SST image of the Gulf Stream. Deidre

  4. Sage Lichtenwalner November 19, 2009 at 9:56 pm #

    Hi Fred, this is quite cool, and I’m happy to hear your students thought so as well.

    Anyway, ask and ye shall receive…

    Here is one of our Google Earth real-time data links I’m sure you’ll find useful. It includes SST for the full North Atlantic as collected by the Modis sensors on the Terra and Aqua satellites.

    You’ll notice there are actually several layers available, depending on how many days you want to composite together to reduce the impact of clouds on the coverage. The “enhanced” layers have a narrower temperature range so the eddies stand out better.

    This is the same file we use to help pilot the gliders. You might find some of the other kml files on the following page of interest as well.


  5. Fred November 20, 2009 at 5:51 pm #

    Thanks to both Tim and Sage for linking me to the Rutgers data. There’s a gold mine of stuff to play around with out there. I haven’t found the perfect SST data set just yet, but I’m still looking. Perhaps I’ll post some more SST + drifter images up there in the future.


Leave a Reply

Skip to toolbar