Artist: Ellen Biegert

Scientist: Larry Pratt

Oceanic circulation is connected to countless systems and is perhaps the most important factor in regulating Earth’s climate, yet the properties that comprise it are not commonly understood.

 Dr Larry Pratt has dedicated his career to exploring the physics of ocean circulation and turbulence, including motions that occur near the ocean bottom. Consequently, he has a rich understanding of how the blue earth moves, from the energetic surface waters to the slow movement and stirring at abyssal depths. Through this project, which includes this piece and subsequent collaborations, we will offer a connection to the ocean through visualization of its natural rhythms.

The piece currently on display represents the wavy calm created by water masses flowing beneath the surface and above the rough bottom of the Pacific Ocean. These waters, seemingly disconnected from the chaotic turbulence of the surface, can stay separated from air for over two millennia. Here, at depth, we find a center of serenity in a constantly mixing ocean. The study of patterns and flowing lines is an expression of this calmness, creating a visual and emotional link to this hidden mass.

Moving forward we will continue to delve into the beauty of these currents, exploring how they move, flow, and interact with one another, from the large, global systems down to the soft, subtle shift of the tide across the ocean floor.