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Parallel Ocean Program (POP) Simulation

The POP model (CCSM Research Tools: CCSM3.0 POP Documentation) was run on Japan's $360 million Earth Simulator, based in Yokohama, to produce the data for the visualizations that you see here. The Earth Simulator has achieved speeds of more than 35 trillion calculations per second, and in a single day can simulate 20 to 40 years of global climate.

The POP model forms the ocean component of the CCSM (CCSM), one of the world's premier climate models. When used in CCSM the POP model is configured at relatively coarse resolution in order to be able to run long periods (hundreds or even thousands of years) required to address climate research questions. In these experiments an experimental version of POP with very high resolution is used to investigate the role of turbulent eddies in the ocean circulation.

This project is a collaboration between NCAR researchers and Japan’s nonprofit Central Research Institute of the Electric Power Industry (CRIEPI). More information on this project can be found here Tapping the Earth Simulator.



Parallel Ocean Program POP


Global Movie




QuickTime | Real | MPEG


These animations were produced from POP .1 degree ocean simulation data. Colored bands reveal the stratification of ocean surface temperatures extending from the poles to the Earth's equator. Sea surface temperatures can range from below zero Celsius in the darkest blue areas to over thirty degrees Celsius in the red regions.




Kuroshio Current


Agulhas Current

Global Movie

QuickTime | Real | MPEG

High resolution computer models of the global oceans reveal the serpentine flow of the Kuroshio Current as it meanders off the southern coast of Japan and transports warm water into the Northern Pacific. The Kuroshio is the strongest current in the North Pacific, analogous to the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic, and has strong influences on fishing yields, marine navigation, and tropical storms that derive energy from its warm surface waters. Variations in the strength and path of the Kuroshio are associated with large scale shifts in climate patterns across the Pacific region. The surface shape depicts the sea surface height that is vertically exaggerated to help reveal the intricate detail of the flow.


Global Movie

QuickTime | Real | MPEG

Swirling warm core eddies are shed from the Agulhas Current at the tip of South Africa and travel far into the South Atlantic. These eddies transport warm and salty water from the Indian Ocean and are likely to have strong influences on global climate patterns.

Model Type:
Model Name:
POP .1 degree ocean simulation
3600x2400 (.1 degree)
Credits & Copyright
©2005, Copyright, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research.
Scientific data from simulations conducted on the Earth Simulator by CRIEPI and NCAR.