Henry Stommel (1920 – 1992)
was driven to understand the forces that cause narrow, fast, Western Boundary currents to strengthen. He advanced theories about global ocean circulation patterns, in particular, the behavior of the Gulf Stream. His ideas helped form the basis of physical oceanography today. He is recognized as one of the most influential and productive oceanographers of his time. Stommel was both a groundbreaking theoretician and an astute, seagoing observer.
The image on the top left shows global ship drift data. The arrows indicate the direction of current flow and color shows current strength with warmer colors representing greater velocities, cooler colors representing lower velocities.
The Ocean Basin Model, middle and bottom left, simulates the Coriolis effect in the Atlantic Ocean. The model allows the user to control the rotation of the Earth and observe the effect on water in an ocean basin. The arrows represent the current velocity at different locations within the basin.