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Illustrative Visualization of Ocean Eddies


In this project, we apply a feature-based method to track instances of ocean eddies through the time steps of a high resolution multidecadal regional ocean model and generate a series of eddy paths which reflect the life cycle of individual eddy instances. Based on the computed metadata, several important geometric and physical properties of eddy are computed. Illustrative visualization techniques, including visual effectiveness enhancement, focus+context, and smart visibility, are combined with the extracted volume features to explore eddy characteristics at different levels. The goal is to combine the style and structure of an illustrative figure of ocean eddieswith time varying feature-based visualization techniques to automatically produce illustrative visualizations with actual data. This combination will allow the entire dataset to be summarized into a single concise view but also enable structural understanding of the eddies and their dynamics.

A video of brief introduction to this project can be found here.

Related Publication:

[1] Liu, L., D. Silver, K. Bemis, D. Kang, and E. Curchitser. "Illustrative Visualization of Mesoscale Ocean Eddies." In Computer Graphics Forum, vol. 36, no. 3, pp. 447-458. 2017.

[2] Karen Bemis, Li Liu, Deborah Silver, Dujuan Kang, Enrique Curchitser, "Case Study on Visualizing Gulf Stream Eddies from ROMS", Poster Session, IEEE SciVis 2016, Best Poster Winner, October 2016.


1. Approach Overview

The proposed method has two phases: (1) Eddy feature computation includes three steps: eddy extraction, eddy path detection, and properties computation. All of these provide data that is used to construct the illustrative eddy visualization. (2) Illustrative eddy visualization.



2. Eddy Feature Computation


Eddy feature extraction and tracking code can be found here

Eddy path detection code can be found here


Related Publication:

[1] Silver, Deborah, and Xin Wang. "Tracking and visualizing turbulent 3d features." IEEE Transactions on Visualization and Computer Graphics 3, no. 2 (1997): 129-141.

[2] Ozer, Sedat, Deborah Silver, Karen Bemis, and Pino Martin. "Activity detection in scientific visualization." IEEE transactions on visualization and computer graphics 20, no. 3 (2014): 377-390.


3. Illustrative Eddy Visualization

(a) Skeletonized Eddy Path Map

In a Skeletonized Eddy Path Map, eddy instances are represented as simple glyphs (cylinders) and the path, a life span composited set of instances, is placed in the context of the ocean basin, Gulf Stream, and coastline to provide a summary view of eddy distribution with eddy vertical transfer highlighted.


(b) Three-dimensional Eddy Path Map

Three-dimensional Eddy Path Map replaces the cylinders in the Skeletonized Eddy Path Map with color-coded isosurface and places them in a more detailed context.



(c) Isolated Eddy Path Visualization

Isolated Eddy Path Visualization illustrates the motion of an isolated eddy in space with a directional line and opacity to convey direction.



(d) Single Eddy Visualization


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