going with the flow

surface currents, deep currents and ocean currents.

causes of currents

Major causes of ocean currents include wind friction, gravity, and variation in water density in different parts of the ocean. Surface ocean currents are mainly caused by wind. The winds that most affect the oceans' currents are: The Westerlies (40-50 degree latitudes) blow west to east.


An ocean gyre is a large system of circular ocean currents formed by global wind patterns and forces created by Earth’s rotation.

there are 5 gyres in each major ocean

ekman transport

ekman transport is the net motion of fluid as the result of a balance between Coriolis and turbulent drag forces. In the picture above, the wind blowing North creates a surface stress and a resulting ekman spiral is found below it in the water column

up-welling and downwelling

Downwelling reduces biological productivity and transports heat, dissolved materials, and surface waters rich in dissolvoccurs along the west coast of Alaska in the eastern boundary region of the Gulf of Alaska gyre (driven by winds in the Aleutian low).ed oxygen to greater depths. This

counter currents

counter is a current that flows in a direction opposite an adjacent current

under current is a counter current that flows under adjacent current

heat transport and climate

transport heat from cool areas to cool area and vice versa

currents affect climate by redistributing a third of the heat in the tropics

deep circulation and water masses

deep circulation is a water motion caused by mixing water of different density. • Wind-driven vertical circulation • Thermohaline circulation – Basics – Patterns – Importance for change in climate.

how deep water masses form

they form primary at high altitude. by becoming more dense than surrounding surface waters and sinking or several mechanisms are possible! – Make salty water cold – Make cold water salty – Make any water REALLY salty. examples of this would be– Atlantic: NADW, AABW, MOW – Pacific: COW, NPIW – Antarctic: AABW, AAIW

deep water flow patterns

tends to descend relatively quickly into deep areas, despairing and mixing water already there. how the water flows in the deeper parts of the ocean

ocean conveyor belt

inter connected flow of currents that distribute heat from parts of the ocean to another part of the ocean

three distinct approach

la grain gain, eularian method or flaw method and altimeter satellites are the three distinct approach method

instrumentation methods

a drogue, aro float Doppler shift and float SAM are instruments used in the instrumentation method