Table of Contents
- 1 What do warm currents do?
- 2 Why are temperatures more stable by the ocean?
- 3 Is the ocean temperature stable?
- 4 Why do warm currents produce a milder climate?
- 5 Do currents carry warm water?
- 6 Why does water resist changes in temperature?
- 7 How does temperature and salinity affect the stability of water?
- 8 How does temperature affect ocean currents?
- 9 How are ocean currents important to the climate?
- 10 What’s the difference between warm and cold currents?
- 11 Why are deep ocean currents slower than surface currents?
What do warm currents do?
When water molecules are heated, they exchange freely with the air in a process called evaporation. Ocean currents act much like a conveyor belt, transporting warm water and precipitation from the equator toward the poles and cold water from the poles back to the tropics.
Why are temperatures more stable by the ocean?
Air that is in contact with the ocean will be much cooler from energy transfer between water and air, while air that sits above land will heat up much more quickly. Therefore, coastal climates are much more temperate because a body of water is nearby to regulate the temperature and keep it more constant.
What is ocean stability?
When scientists talk about ocean stability, they refer to how much the different layers of the sea mix with each other. It controls how heat, carbon, nutrients and dissolved gases are exchanged between the upper and lower layers of the ocean.
Is the ocean temperature stable?
In some areas, this surface temperature is relatively stable while in others, it fluctuates depending on the season (and thus the amount of sunlight received). Therefore, the deep ocean (below about 200 meters depth) is cold, with an average temperature of only 4°C (39°F).
Why do warm currents produce a milder climate?
(i) Warm currents produce a milder climate because warm currents tend to raise the temperature of the places where they flow.
How do currents affect the temperature?
Currents affect the temperature directly. The warm currents raise and the cold currents lower the temperature of the neighbouring islands. Wind blowing over warm currents have a warming effect and raise the winter temperature of regions situated in higher latitudes.
Do currents carry warm water?
The process that creates deep currents is called thermohaline circulation—“thermo” referring to temperature and “haline” to saltiness. It all starts with surface currents carrying warm water north from the equator. These currents circulate around the globe in a thousand-year cycle.
Why does water resist changes in temperature?
Water is able to resist temperature changes due to hydrogen bonding. Specifically, in order for water to increase in temperature hydrogen bonds must break giving rise to the relatively high boiling point of water. Conversely, hydrogen bonds must form before the temperature of water may be lowered.
Is the ocean stable or unstable?
“In oceans, water tends to stratify, with warmer, less dense water sitting atop colder, more dense water. We refer to this as a ‘stable’ configuration. Sometimes the waters are not stable. For example, the upper waters of the ocean can suddenly become heavier.
How does temperature and salinity affect the stability of water?
Temperature (along with salinity) affects the density and thus the stability of the water column. This increases the stability of the water column, preventing deeper, nutrient-rich water from being mixed into the surface from below.
How does temperature affect ocean currents?
Water expands when it warms up – heat energy makes its molecules move around more and take up more space. When water cools, it contracts and becomes denser. Temperature and salinity both affect the density of water, resulting in water moving up or down through the ocean layers and moving as currents around the ocean.
What is responsible for surface currents?
Surface currents in the ocean are driven by global wind systems that are fueled by energy from the sun. Patterns of surface currents are determined by wind direction, Coriolis forces from the Earth’s rotation, and the position of landforms that interact with the currents.
How are ocean currents important to the climate?
Ocean currents act as conveyer belts of warm and cold water, sending heat toward the polar regions and helping tropical areas cool off. The world’s ocean is crucial to heating the planet. While land areas and the atmosphere absorb some sunlight, the majority of the sun’s radiation is absorbed by the ocean.
What’s the difference between warm and cold currents?
Currents that flow away from the equator are called warm currents, while those that flow toward it are known as cold currents—but in this case the words ‘warm’ and ‘cold’ are relative, it simply means they contain water with higher or lower temperatures than would be predicted by latitude alone.
Why are upwelling currents important to the ocean?
Upwelling currents bring cold nutrient-rich waters from the ocean bottom to the surface, supporting many of the most important fisheries and ecosystems in the world. These currents support the growth of phytoplankton and seaweed which provide the energy base for consumers higher in the food chain, including fish, marine mammals, and humans.
Why are deep ocean currents slower than surface currents?
This is a process driven by density differences in water due to temperature (thermo) and salinity (haline) variations in different parts of the ocean. Currents driven by thermohaline circulation occur at both deep and shallow ocean levels and move much slower than tidal or surface currents.