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Factors Affecting Insolation and the Heating of the Atmosphere

Ocean Currents

Brooke Chapman

on 13 September 2013

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Transcript of Factors Affecting Insolation and the Heating of the Atmosphere

Ocean currents are influenced by two forces:-
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
Gulf Stream
North Pacific Drift
Equatorial Current
Humboldt (Peruvian)
West Australian
Kuro Siwo
East Austrilian
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.
Surface 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
density differences
in the water.
Ocean currents affect the
air temperatures
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
Warm Current
Cool Current
Full transcript