Feature-based time-varying volume visualization is combined with illustrative visualization to tell the story of how mesoscale ocean eddies form in the Gulf Stream and transport heat and nutrients across the ocean basin. The internal structure of these three-dimensional eddies and the kinematics with which they move are critical to a full understanding of ocean eddies. In this work, we apply a feature-based method to track instances of ocean eddies through the time steps of a high-resolution multi-decadal 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. An evaluation by domain experts indicates that combining our feature-based techniques with illustrative visualization techniques provides an insight into the role eddies play in ocean circulation. The domain experts expressed a preference for our methods over existing tools.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)447-458
Number of pages12
JournalComputer Graphics Forum
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2017


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


  • Categories and Subject Descriptors (according to ACM CCS)
  • I.3.8 [Computer Graphics]: Applications—Oceanography Simulation and Modeling

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