But the animation is more than just a bunch of pretty pictures. "Being able to actually see how the bottom water moves in three dimensions rather than just looking at numerical, two-dimensional outputs has already opened new areas for scientific research," Hogg said.
By peeling away the surface layer of water, the animation shows how the cold, dense water produced off the Antarctic coastline spreads out into the rest of the world's ocean basins. The water's extreme density and coldness drive many important currents in the ocean basins connected to the Southern Ocean.
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The water movement also helps the planet to cope with global warming driven by human burning of fossil fuels. As water near the surface is drawn deep, it takes with it heat and carbon that otherwise would have been returned to the atmosphere.
"The inhospitable climate of Antarctica and the lack of sustained observations of the ocean in this region over a significant period of time adds to the importance of using ocean models to create visualizations like these," Hogg explained.
From Hogg's web page, here's a more detailed explanation of Southern Ocean circulation.