The Scientific Visualization Studio at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center is responsible for many fascinating and beautiful animations that bring to life the weather and other effects on a planetary scale. These animations take data from real research papers and plug it into computational models to produce these stunning images.
This particular visualization was created using a computational model called Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean, Phase II (ECCO2). In layman's terms, its a model to estimate the temperature and flow of ocean water. From data gathered between June 2005 and December 2007, animators were able to show the direction of ocean currents by using white lines that show the direction and speed of ocean water worldwide.
The animation was created at the last minute for entry into SIGGRAPH, the Special Interest Group on Graphics and Interactive Techniques annual conference for computer graphics, but was not accepted. There is no narration accompanying the video. The goal was "to use ocean flow data to create a simple, visceral experience."