The Sun and Convection Currents
Wind & Ocean Currentsand
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Source: www. Skip to main content. How are Ocean Currents Formed?
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Ocean water moves in predictable ways along the ocean surface. These surface currents do not depend on weather; they remain unchanged even in large storms because they depend on factors that do not change. Surface currents are extremely important because they distribute heat around the planet and are a major factor influencing climate around the globe. Winds on Earth are either global or local. Wind is not the only factor that affects ocean currents. Coriolis causes freely moving objects to appear to move to the right in the Northern Hemisphere and to the left in the Southern Hemisphere.
Ocean water is constantly in motion Figure From north to south, east to west, and up and down the shore, ocean water moves all over the place. These movements can be explained as the result of many separate forces, including local conditions of wind, water, the position of the moon and Sun, the rotation of the Earth, and the position of land formations. Wind that blows over the ocean water creates waves. Surface currents are an important factor in the ocean because they are a major factor in determining climate around the globe. Currents on the surface are determined by three major factors: the major overall global wind patterns, the rotation of the Earth, and the shape of ocean basins.
Ocean and wind currents are formed by a process known as convection. Both convection and pressure affect the flow of water and air. As air and water currents move from one area to another, they affect the general climate of the area they are moving into. Water currents have the ability to cool and warm the air, while air currents push air from one climate to another, bringing heat or cold and moisture with it. Convection is one of the major ways that heat is transferred.
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NASA - The Ocean: A Driving Force for Weather and Climate