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Visualizing Upwelling at Monterey Bay in an Integrated Environment of GIS and Scientific Visualization

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Oceanographic data are complex in that they incorporate multiple measurements and various scales. They are truly three-dimensional, and often vary in time. As the ability to acquire data is constantly being enhanced by the introduction of new and increasingly sophisticated instruments, it is challenging for oceanographers to inspect oceanographic processes by analyzing the complex data conventionally. In this article, we discuss an integrated GIS/visualization approach to visualize oceanographic data in Monterey Bay in order to get a better understanding of upwelling processes. The GIS system performs data interpolation, unifies map projection, and filters the processed data to a computer visualization package. The multidimensional visualization and animation features of the visualization tool are used to gain insight into marine upwelling processes. In such an integrated environment, the water properties (i.e., temperature, salinity, and density) in Monterey Bay during upwelling are visualized, and the characteristics of upwelling are examined. The center of upwelling and the maximum depth of upwelling in Monterey Bay during the 1995 upwelling season are identified. The differences in temperature changing patterns between a typical upwelling year and an El Nino year are shown in this study. The integration of GIS and visualization makes it easier for oceanographers to discover and understand upwelling.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 1999

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