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How does wind affect ocean currents?

Haley Smith Science fair project
by

tanya smith

on 7 January 2013

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Transcript of How does wind affect ocean currents?

Haley Smith
6th Grade
Mrs. Williams How does wind affect ocean currents?

I think the ocean is a very wonderful and
mysterious place. I do not live close to the ocean,
but I enjoy learning new things about it. Why I chose this topic The purpose of this experiment is to see what happens to the ocean current when the wind is involved. This experiment won’t be important to my community, because we don’t live near the ocean. However, scientists and other people who spend a lot of time around the ocean can learn a lot from my experiment. When people are out on the ocean wind and ocean currents can be very dangerous. So knowing how wind affects ocean currents can be important. Purpose If the wind is blowing over the ocean then the
current will move the same direction as the wind. Hypothesis Source 1
“Ocean Circulations.” North Carolina State University. Southeast Regional Climate Center, 7 Aug. 2012. Web.
3 Jan. 2013. <http://www.nc-Climate.ncsu.edu/edu/ k12/OceanCirculations/body>.


I learned that the wind moves on top of the ocean, and
can change the ocean current. I also learned that wind only has a strong affect on the surface currents. Background Research Source 2
“Ocean Currents and Climates.” University of Southern California Web. 3 Jan. 2013.<http://Earth.usc.edu /stott/Catalina/Oceans.html.>



I learned that ocean currents have two types of currents. The first one is surface current and the second one is
deep water current. I also learned that the wind is a primary force. Primary force means that it starts the
water moving. Source 3
“Surface Ocean Currents.” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. U.S. Department of commerce. 25 Mar. 2008. Web. 3 Jan. 2013. <http:// OceanService.noaa.gov/education/kits/currents/ 05Currents1.html.>

I learned that the wind affects the surface current more than the deep ocean currents.However, the water under the surface will move too. Each layer of water moves slower than the layer on top of it, until it gets to deep that the wind won’t each the deep water. Source 4
Linzee, George. “Currents-Their Causes and Effects.” National Oceanographic Partnership Program. NOPP. Web. 6 Jan. 2013. <drifters.doe.gov/currents/currents .html>.


I learned that because the earth spends that surface currents in the Northern Hemisphere move clockwise. In the Southern Hemisphere move counterclockwise. Source 5
“Shorelines.” Missouri Botanical Garden. Missouri Botanical Garden, 2002. Web. 6 Jan. 2013. <www.mbgnet.net/salt/sandy/currents.htm. >



I learned that there are two types of winds that have the biggest impact on the oceans. They are called the Westerlies and the Trade Winds. The Westerlies blow west to east and the Trade Winds blow east to west. The constants in my experiment were the
distance of wind from the water, the speed of
the wind, and the amount of food coloring. The Independent Variables in my experiment were
the depths of water in the bowls and the direction
of the wind. The Dependent variable in my
experiment was the direction that the water
moved and the color of the water after wards. Experimental Design Blue food coloring
Water
Blow dryer
Three different depths of bowls Materials 1. I put water in three glass bowls. All at different depths.
2. I measured the water levels.
3. I added three drops of food coloring to each bowl.
4. I measured how far the blow dryer was from the edge of the bowl.
5. I turned the blow dryer on low and observed the water movement in the first bowl with the shallowest amount of water.
6. I changed the direction of the wind on the 1st bowl.
7. I repeated these steps for the second and third bowls. Procedures Since the food coloring sinks to the bottom of the bowl, the color of the water shows how much of the water on the bottom was moved by the wind. The shallower the water level the more food coloring that was mixed in when the wind was blown over the water. Data Analysis No matter what direction I held the blow
dryer, the water moved in the same direction
as the wind was blowing. When it hit the edges
of the bowl the water would circle around the
bowl. In the bowls with deeper water, I could see
that the most of the movement was on the top
surface of the water. The water on the bottom
moved, but not as fast as the water on top. Results My major results were that even when I changed the direction of the wind it just changed the direction the water moved. My hypothesis was if wind was moving across the
ocean then the water would move in the same direction. My experiment supported my hypothesis completely. In my background research, I learned that the wind does affect
the direction of ocean currents. To improve on this experiment I could have used bigger object like an aquarium or a bath tub. This would have helped me to see less movement on the bottom. Conclusions Linzee, George. “Currents-Their Causes and Effects.” National Oceanographic
Partnership Program. NOPP. Web. 6 Jan. 2013. <drifters.doe.gov/currents/ currents.html>.

“Ocean Circulations.” North Carolina State University. Southeast Regional Climate Center, 7 Aug. 2012. Web. 3 Jan. 2013. < http://www.nc- Climate.ncsu.edu/edu/ k12/OceanCirculations/body>.

“Ocean Currents and Climates.” University of Southern California Web. 3 Jan. 2013. <http://Earth.usc.edu/stott/Catalina/Oceans.html.>

“Shorelines.” Missouri Botanical Garden. Missouri Botanical Garden, 2002. Web. 6 Jan. 2013.< www.mbgnet.net/salt/sandy/currents.htm. >

“Surface Ocean Currents.” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. U.S. Department of commerce. 25 Mar. 2008. Web. 3 Jan. 2013. <http:// OceanService.noaa.gov/education/kits/currents/05Currents1.html.> Bibliography
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