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Ocean Currents.

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Presentation on theme: "Ocean Currents."— Presentation transcript:

1 Ocean Currents

2 Ocean Currents Mass movement or flow of ocean water
River within the ocean (“Conveyor Belt”) Two types Surface Deep (or Subsurface)


4 Ocean Currents Vocabulary
Gyre: Nearly closed current system in the open ocean Clockwise pattern in N. Hemisphere Counter-clockwise pattern in S. Hemisphere

5 Ocean Currents Vocabulary Continued…
Meander – Bend in a current’s flow Ring – Large, whirl-like pattern (when a meander is cut off) Eddy – Small current Ring

6 Surface Current Link Horizontal, stream-like movements of water that occur at or near the surface of the ocean Can reach depths of several hundred meters

7 Surface Currents continued…
Controlled by three factors Global winds Coriolis Effect Continental Deflections

8 Surface Currents continued…
Global Winds Cause surface currents to flow in the direction the wind is blowing Coriolis Effect Link Apparent curving of moving objects (ie- Water) due to the Earth’s rotation

9 Surface Currents continued…
Coriolis Effect Northern Hemisphere = clockwise Southern Hemisphere = counter clockwise Continental Deflections Shape of continents change the direction of current flow

10 Deep Currents Stream like movement of ocean water far below the surface Caused by changes in density Change in temperature Change in salinity


12 Deep Currents continued…
Change in temperature Decreasing the temperature of water increases density Change in salinity Increasing the salinity of water increases density

13 Surface currents and climate
Warm water currents On the east coasts of continents Bring warm water to colder regions


15 Surface currents and climate
Cold water currents On the west coasts of continents Bring cold water to warmer regions


17 Upwelling Link The movement of deep, cold, nutrient rich water to the surface Nutrients promote growth of fish and plants Areas are important fishing grounds


19 Downwelling The movement of warm surface waters towards the coast
Causes a thickening of the surface waters which causes them to sink


21 Causes of warm and cold currents
El Niño Change in the water temperature in the Pacific Ocean that produces a warm current

22 Causes of warm and cold currents
La Niña Change in the eastern Pacific Ocean in which the surface water temperature becomes unusually cool



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