Swiss Contribution to SC11 Scientific Visualization Showcase: Reversing Magnetic Field of Planet Earth

An animation produced by Swiss scientists about the Reversing Magnetic Field of Planet Earth is one of the 16 selected animations for SC11 Scientific Visualization Showcase.

The visualization showcase relies on competitive selection visualizations with a goal to have an event and place at the conference that collects and showcases state-of-the-art scientific visualizations that relate to HPC problems. The Scientific Visualization Showcase will be presented at SC11 in a museum/art exhibit-style environment so that attendees can experience and enjoy the latest in science and engineering HPC results expressed through state-of-the-art visualization technologies.

The visualization about the Reversing Magnetic Field of Planet Earth has been created by Jean M. Favre (CSCS), Jon Rotvig (ETH Zurich) and Andrew Jackson (ETH Zurich).

The magnetic field generated in the fluid metallic core of planet Earth is shown. Numerical simulations of the dynamo mechanism, such as this one, exhibit polarity reversals, whereby the north pole moves by 180 degrees; this mimics the behaviour documented many times within the geological record. Our simulation solves the equations of momentum transfer, heat transfer and electrodynamics in an electrically conducting and rapidly-rotating fluid at each point in time. High temperatures in the central part of the core drive thermal convection. The total simulation is equivalent to approximately 40,000 years on Earth. Our movie shows the magnetic field lines that enter and exit the core. High magnetic field strength is shown by red and yellow colours, and lower strengths by blue. On each field line we place a small compass needle with red and white ends, which orient itself in the direction of the field.