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Factors Affecting Insolation and the Heating of the Atmosphere
Transcript of Factors Affecting Insolation and the Heating of the Atmosphere
1. Primary - These start the water moving and involve solar heating, winds, gravity and the coriolis force
2. Secondary - These influence the direction of which the current flows
North Atlantic Drift
North Pacific Drift
How Ocean Currents Affect Insolation and the Heating of the Atmosphere
Ocean currents are a combination of the vertical and horizontal movements of both surface currents and deep water currents.
These are found in the upper 400m of the ocean and make up 10% of all the water in the ocean.
As the prevailing winds blow across the water's surface, friction is caused forcing the water to move in spiral pattern. These circular movements are known as gyres
Gyres move clockwise in the northern hemisphere and anticlockwise in the southern hemisphere.
Density differences are a function of temperature and salinity
. Warm water holds
salt than cold water so it is
less dense and rises
toward the surface while cold, salt laden water sinks.
Surface currents travel over long distances and gravity plays a major role as it pushes the water down "water mounds" that are caused when either water meets land, two currents converge or where there is warm water - this is what forms the currents.
Deep Water Currents, also known thermohaline circulation, and found
below 400 meters
, making up the remaining 90% of the ocean. Like surface currents, gravity plays a role in the creation of deep water currents, however these currents are mainly caused by
in the water.
Ocean currents affect the
by the movement of gyres. Warm currents migrate
and the colder currents rush to replace these by moving towards the
. Once warm, they return to the poles again. This is what warms, or alternatively cools the air above the water.
The mild winters and cool summers of the British Isles are due to the
movement of the warm
North Atlantic Drift
current. Whereas the
current blows cooler air onto the north-east coast of North America to
the summer temperatures