The GOCE has burned up the map in 2013 after spending more than 4 years in orbit. This helped the scientists create the most accurate map of the oceans, more precisely a map of the global ocean currents that ever existed.
The satellite has not been observing and detecting the currents of the oceans directly. It used precision instruments to measure the Earth’s gravity. This way, scientists could develop a computer model of what our Planet’s oceans would look like if they would stand still.
The GOCE was interested in how gravity can affect the ocean currents. The scientists said that it’s quite difficult to isolate the interaction between gravity and ocean currents. They said that this kind of interaction sends the ocean currents far from the patterns established by the gravitational forces.
The Earth’s gravitational pull changes from one region of the planet to the other due to the uneven distribution of mass beneath our planet’s crust and core.
The new model that designed the map of the oceans will help better understand the Earth’s climate and how the oceans move approximately 30% of the Earth heat.
The way the ocean’s waters circulate has a very important role in our Planet’s climate regulation. The oceans’ movement transfers heat from low to high latitudes in surface waters. The currents that have been cooled at higher latitudes stream in deep waters back to the equator.
Marie Helene Rio, a scientist at the National Research Council’s Institute of Atmospheric Sciences and Climate said:
“GOCE has really made a breakthrough for the estimation of ocean currents.”
The scientists gave as example the way the Gulf Stream moves. It brings warm surface waters from the Gulf of Mexico northward and makes the European coastal waters a little warmer than the waters at equal latitudes in the North Pacific.