hw #4 - Thomas Ronan Fluid Earth 4/28/08 Hw #4 1A-B) on...

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Thomas Ronan Fluid Earth 4/28/08 Hw #4 1A-B) on another sheet C.) the North Atlantic subtropical gyre is driven by the wind. The important theory to understand behind this phenomenon is Ekman theory. He proposed that Net water movement is at 90 degrees to the right to the direction of the wind force acting on the water, and that the main surface current is at 45 degrees to the wind force. This net direction of water 90 degrees to the right (right in northern hemisphere due to Coriolis effect, and to the left in southern hemisphere due to the Coriolis effect there) of the wind force is compiled by something known as the Ekman spiral, which is a mass of water that goes down to approximately 100 meters that with each layer farther down rotates slightly more to the right of the layer above it and due to loss of energy from friction also moves relatively slower than the layer above it. When all these vectors of water transport are added a resulting net transport of water is to the right of the acting wind force. This is one key part that combines to form the North Atlantic subtropical gyre, I will discuss more thoroughly later the effect that this net movement of water has and how it affects the Gyre as a whole. Now that Ekman theory is laid out it must be applied to the North Atlantic. The trade winds which blow at 15 degrees North latitude move from East to West and power the North Equatorial Current. Trade winds move from a general East to West direction with flow towards the Equator. Thus the main surface current flows nearly perfectly west, due to Coriolis Effect as stated by Ekman. Now as this North Equatorial Current encounters the western boundary of the Atlantic which is made up of North American Continent the Flow of the water is deflected northward in the Golf Stream, which brings warm water north from the warm waters of the Caribbean, which is responsible for the temperate climate of Western Europe. As the Gulf Stream moves out of the Caribbean it begins moving out into the Atlantic away from the Coast
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This note was uploaded on 04/29/2008 for the course EPS 270.180 taught by Professor Olsen during the Spring '08 term at Johns Hopkins.

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hw #4 - Thomas Ronan Fluid Earth 4/28/08 Hw #4 1A-B) on...

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