Tech Report CS-05-03

Volume Rendering with Animation of Gulf Stream Currents

David Ehrens, Ramprasad Balasubramanian, Amit Tandon, Jurgen P. Schulze

March 2005


This paper describes the novel use of volume rendering for the visualization of MICOM oceanographic data and the tracking of mesoscale eddies. We present methods for generating 3D volumetric data and describe how to use VIRVO to build an animation for MICOM Gulf Stream motion data. This put the data in a format that easily gives oceanographers the ability to visualize mesoscale eddies from any angle, including an undersea aspect, over any duration, and by combinations of spatial dimensions. One advantage of this technique is that only minimal processing of the oceanographic data is required. High or low density objects, corresponding to heat-laden currents, can be enhanced or masked by modifying a dynamic transfer function, also providing the ability to visualize cooler return waters. While the data format is relatively simple and the software is easily installed on a personal computer, the same animations can be viewed in an immersive virtual reality environment.

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