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Ocean Currents

What ocean currents are and how they work

QuestionAnswer
What are ocean currents? Ocean currents are large streams of water flowing in a certain path.
What influences the formation and moving of ocean currents? Earth's global wind belts (ex. Trade Winds) influence the formation and moving of ocean currents. For instance, Trade Winds move warm water toward North and South America.
Why do gyres move in different directions in both hemispheres? Gyres move in different directions in both hemispheres because of the Coriolis Effect. They move clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and counterclockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.
What is upwelling? Upwelling is the vertical movement of water toward the ocean's surface. It occurs when wind blows water away from an area and deeper, colder water is forced to the surface.
What are density currents? A density current is a current that is caused by changes in density. A surface current reaches a polar area and the water cools. As the water freezes, salt is left behind. The surface water becomes very dense and sinks. Upwelling brings the water back up.
Why is the East Coast of the U.S. affected more than the West Coast? The East Coast is affected more because the Gulf Stream releases lots of heat and moisture into the air. As a result, it is humid and can rain. The California Current releases less heat and moisture, so it is drier along the West Coast.
What is the Great Ocean Conveyor Belt? The Great Ocean Conveyor Belt is a large system of currents that affects weather and climate. It takes about 1,000 years to complete, and density currents in the North Atlantic and Southern Ocean "drive" the conveyor belt.
Why do gyres move in circles? Gyres move in circles because when the currents That are driven by wind and gravity hit a continent, they are forced to turn around and go a different way.
Created by: shwetanknsingh