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Dynamic Ocean

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DYNAMIC OCEAN
SURFACE CIRCULATION

Ocean Currents
• are masses of ocean water that flow from one place to another.
• Currents that are generated involve water masses in motion.
• Surface currents develop from friction between the ocean and the wind that blows across its surface.

Ocean Circulation Patterns
• Higher circulating – moving current systems dominate the surfaces of the oceans. These large whirls of water within an ocean basin are called GYRES (gyros = a circle).
World’s Five Main Gyres
1. North Pacific Gyre
2. South Pacific Gyre
3. North Atlantic Gyre
4. South Atlantic Gyre
5. Indian Ocean Gyre
• Subtropical Gyres – the center of each gyre that coincides with the subtropics at about 30 degrees north or south latitude. Subtropical gyres rotate clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and counter – clockwise in Southern Hemisphere. They flow in different directions because of Coriolis Effect (Gaspard de Coriolis). Because of Earth’s rotation, currents are deflected to the right in the Nothern Hemisphere and to the left in the Southern Hemisphere.

FOUR MAIN CURRENTS IN NORTH PACIFIC GYRE
1. North Equatorial Current
2. Kuroshio Current
3. North Pacific Current
4. California Current

FOUR MAIN CURRENTS IN NORTH ATLANTIC GYRE
1. North Equatorial Current
2. Gulf Stream
3. North Atlantic Current(North Atlantic Drift)
4. Canary Current
West Wind Drift – is the only current that completely encircles Earth.

IMPORTANCE OF SURFACE CURRENTS
Climate
• Influence of cold currents is most pronounced in the tropics or during the summer months in the middle latitudes.
Upwelling
• The rising of cold water from deeper layers.
• Most characteristic along west coasts of continents.
• Brings greater concentrations of dissolved nutrients to the ocean surface.

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