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What causes Ocean Currents to move.

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by

M Soliman

on 26 June 2014

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Transcript of What causes Ocean Currents to move.


Recently you created a model that demonstrated the movement of ocean currents. Your observation showed that the colder currents moved downward and the warmer currents moved upward. From your prior knowledge, you correctly concluded that temperature affects the density of water. Today you will learn what other factors affect ocean currents.
Let's start learning:
What are Ocean Currents?
Ocean Currents are the movement of seawater set in motion by several forces: wind, Coriolis effect, temperature, and salinity differences.
Today's objective will focus on identifying movement caused by temperature, salinity, and wind.
How does Temperature affect currents?
When water is warmed by the Sun's energy at the equator, the molecules move rapidly (the kinetic energy increases). This motion causes the molecules to become less dense. The opposite occurs at the poles. Colder water is more dense, and therefore the water in colder regions will sink deep in the ocean.
Check out this video to learn more:
Check out this video to learn more:
How does Salinity affect currents?

Salinity is the saltiness or amount of dissolved salt in a body of water.
What sets Ocean Currents in motion?
Future Oceanogropher:
There are two main types of currents. Those found close to the ocean floor are called Deep Ocean Currents. Currents moving on top of the Ocean are Surface currents.
How does wind affect currents?
Surface ocean currents are affected by wind patterns. Trade winds can push water along the top of the ocean and aid in the formation of surface currents. One example of a wind-driven circulation affecting an ocean current is the Gulf Stream.
The Gulf Stream takes very warm water from the Gulf of Mexico and parts of the Caribbean Sea and transports it northward. Making this area of western Florida rich in nutrients. At times the Gulf Stream can have a great effect on storm systems along the West Coast of Florida. This special part of the Gulf Stream is called called the Loop Current.
A current near home:
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