1. Describe the relationship between wind and ocean currents.
2. Describe the patterns of different types of currents.
3. Describe the flow of density currents.
4. Identify factors that affect the density of ocean water.
ocean current surface current cold-core ring warm-core ring countercurrent density current upwelling
Notes: (24-1 & 24-2)
Ocean currents are wide paths of water flowing over long distances in the ocean. They are powered by the wind and affected by the Coriolis Effect. The ocean currents can be broken down into surface and underwater currents.
Surface currents are defined as currents from the surface to 1000 meters in depth.
Countercurrents are bands of water moving in the opposite direction as the prevailing current.
Deep ocean currents known as density currents are different from surface currents in that the driving force is gravity and not the winds. Density currents are global (not separated by hemispheres).
Surface currents can travel from 500 - 2000 years before surfacing in a process knowi as upwelling.
Last modified: February 10, 2004