The Air Sea Connection

How are the ocean and the atmosphere connected?

How does the ocean affect the weather?

While land areas and the atmosphere absorb some sunlight, the majority of the sun’s radiation is absorbed by the ocean. The ocean doesn't just store solar radiation; it also helps to distribute heat around the globe. For example, The tropics are particularly rainy because heat absorption, and thus ocean evaporation, is highest in this area. The energy making our hearts beat right now came indirectly from the sun.

What effect does the atmosphere have on the ocean?

The atmosphere and weather has a lot to do with the ocean. Tornados are a good example. All you need is warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico and cool, dry air from Canada. The two, wind and water, create a beast capable of mass destruction.

When winds are strong enough to produce spray and whitecaps, tiny droplets of ocean water are thrown up into the atmosphere where some evaporate, leaving microscopic grains of salt buoyed by the turbulence of the air. These tiny particles may become nuclei for the condensation of water vapor to form fogs and clouds.

Wind comes from everywhere

What does the wind have to do with the ocean currents and tides?

The wind directly affects the ocean. For one expample, you have the tornado. Not only does the wind and water create the tornado in the first place, but it determines where the tornado goes, how fast it hits land, where it hits, and how long it will last. The tornado needs a certain amount of wind (AND WATER) to continue gaining power, or a lack of to lose power.