Ocean Currents - Ocean Currents Why is Ocean Circulation...

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Ocean Currents
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Why is Ocean Circulation Important? Transport ~ 20% of latitudinal heat Equator to poles Transport nutrients and organisms Influences weather and climate Influences commerce
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Convection cell model Non-rotating Earth
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Add rotation and add landmasses unequal heating and cooling of the Earth
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Physical properties of the atmosphere: Density Warm, low density air rises Cool, high density air sinks Creates circular- moving loop of air (convection cell)
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Physical properties of the atmosphere: Water vapor Cool air cannot hold much water vapor, so is typically dry Warm air can hold more water vapor, so is typically moist Water vapor decreases the density of air
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Physical properties of the atmosphere: Pressure
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ITCZ intertropical convergence zone= doldrums Low pressure, wet climate High pressure, dry climate Low pressure, wet climate 30 o 30 o 60 o 60 o 90 o 90 o 0 o High pressure, dry climate
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The Coriolis effect The Coriolis effect Is a result of Earth’s rotation Causes moving objects to follow curved paths: In Northern Hemisphere, curvature is to right In Southern Hemisphere, curvature is to left Changes with latitude: No Coriolis effect at Equator Maximum Coriolis effect at poles
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The Coriolis effect on Earth As Earth rotates, different latitudes travel at different speeds The change in speed with latitude causes the Coriolis effect
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equator Quito Buffalo 79 o W North Pole South Pole N Quito Buffalo Buffalo moves 783 mph Quito moves 1036 mph 15 o
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A) Idealized winds generated by pressure gradient and Coriolis Force. B) Actual wind patterns owing to land mass distribution. .
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Surface Currents The upper 400 meters of the ocean (10%). Deep Water Currents Thermal currents (90%) Ocean Currents
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Surface Currents Forces 1.Solar Heating (temp, density) 2.Winds 3.Coriolis
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Wind-driven surface currents
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Wind-Driven and Density-Driven Currents Wind-driven currents occur in the uppermost 100 m or less Density differences causes by salinity and temperature produce very slow flows in deeper waters.
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Sailors have know about ocean currents for centuries Sailors have know that “rivers” flow in the seas since ancient times. They used them to shorten voyages, or were delayed by trying to stem them. If navigators do not correct to deflection by currents, they may be far away from where they think they are and meet disaster.
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Ben Franklin and the Gulf Stream
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Matthew Fontaine Maury The first systematic study of currents was done by Maury based on logbooks in the US Navy’s Depot of Charts and Instruments.
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Ocean Currents - Ocean Currents Why is Ocean Circulation...

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