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53 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Coriolis Effect:
changes the intended path of a moving body

causes moving objects to follow curved paths

it is the result of earths rotation to the east
What direction does the coriolis effect move things?
Northern Hemisphere: RIGHT

Southern Hemisphere: LEFT
What are the six circulation cells?
Hadely Cells (N/S)
Ferrel Cells (N/S)
Polar Cells (N/S)

driven by the differences in solar heating and coinciding with the movement of the two adjoining cells
Hadely Cells:
Polar Cells:
Ferrel Cells:
polar highs:
winds that occur at the poles

high pressure zones caused by descending cool dense air
subtropical highs:
30 N/S

high pressure zones caused by descending cool dense air
equatorial low:

column of warm low density air that rises
subpolar low:
60 N/S

column of warm low density air that rises
Wind belt:
the lowermost portion of circulation cells
trade winds:
from subtropical high pressure zones toward equalatorial low

NE Trade Winds: NE->SW (right)
SW Trade Winds: SW-> NE (left)
prevailing westerly wind belts:
some air that descends in subtropical regions and moves to higher latitudes

North Hem: SE-> NW
South Hem: NW-> SE
polar eastery wind belts:
air moves away from high pressure at poles

North Hem: from NE
South Hem: from SE

*westerlies rise above easterlies
the boundary b/t the two trade wind belts along the equator

no wind/ lotsa rain
horse latitudes:
boundary bt trade winds and westerlies (30 N/S)

high pressure, clear and ry fair conditionswhere air is sinking and surface winds are light
polar front:
boundary bt prevailing westerlies and polar easterlies (60 N/S)

cloudy w percipitation
surface currents:
result from friction bt surface and wind

occur in or above pycenonine (1000m)

influenced by continents, gravity, friction and the Corelois Effect
thermohaline currents:
begin at surface in high latitudes where dense surface water sinks down and other water masses upwell bc water column is isothermal in high latitudes
What is the difference bt deep current and surface currents?
deep water currenents move larger masses of water and are much slower

deep moves as far in a year as surface currents do in one hour
What is the directional relationship bt wind and a wind driven current?
if there were no continents the surface currents would follow the major wind belts
What happens to wind driven currents that are blocked by continents?
create circular moving loops of watere that follow the trade winds then the prevailing westerlies
circular flow of ocean currents within a basin
what currents compose a gyre?
the equatorial, western boundary,prevailing westerly and eastern boundary
what determains the dirsection of a gyres rotation?
the coreolis effect

the westerlies and easterlies

North: clockwise
South: counter
Why is the sea surface not flat?
b/c currents continually move it


water is thicker at the equator because it is spinning faster
Ekmin Spiral:
caused by wind blowing across the surface and is modified by the coriolis effect

creates different layers of surface water that move in slightly different directions and speeds b/c the effect increases curvature to the right

also friction consumes energy
Ekman transport:
all layers combine to create net water movement of about 90
ekmin spirals in different hemispheres:
N: right of wind
S: left of wind
can ekmin spirals cause up/ downwelling?
how do warm/ cold rings form in ocean?
water meandors become more intense and rings break off and isolate
warm rings:
shallow bowl shaped

1 km dep, 1000 km wide

remove large volumes of water as they disconnect

cold rings:
spinning cone shaped

3.5 km deep, 500 km wide

move 3-7 km daily

what eventually happens to most rings?
eventually mix into surrounding waters

sometimes two year life span
western intensification:
when western boundary cuurents of subtropical gyres are faster narrower and eeper

caused by apex (top) of hill formed by gyre being closer to western boundary

all subtropical gyres are intensified
what causes western intensification?
corelois effect: increases towards poles so eastward flowing high latitude waters turn toward the equator moves strongly

this causes a wide slow and shallow flow of water toward the equator leaving only a narrow band through which poleward flow can occur on a western margin
what is the driving force of thermohaline circulation?

upwelling and downwelling due to denser masses of water sinking
what is the average salinity/temp of most oceans?
salinity: 34-35%
temp: 4%
why do deep ocean characteristics remain relatively stable?
the density changes all remain above 1000 m
Atlantic water masses:
N/S Atlantic gyres

poorly developed equatorial countercurrents seperates these two subtropical gyres

Gulf Stream: highest velocity and best studied current which carries water along SE and coast
Pacific water masses:
N/S subtropical gyres

separated by a well developed equatorial countercurrents
Indian water masses:
Indian Ocean Gyre which is located mostly in S Hem
what causes up/down welling:
coast: Ekmin transport

deep:changing of densities at surface
what makes antartic bottom water the densest?
freezing take out all fresh water

water is so cold and salinitated it sinks
Mediteranean Intermediate water:
warm enclosed body of water with much evaporation due to low circulation

it creeps over Gibrartar slope into the N Atlantic and settles in the midde cause it is WARM with HIGH salinity
equatorial countercurrents:
water piles up at western margins of ocean basins due to coreolis effect (2 m higher than eastern side)

water then flows downhill due to gravity creating these currents that flow counter to and between the adjoining equatorial currents
why do surface currents flow east and west but thermohaline currents north and south:
surface: effected by wid and coreolis effect

deep: created at the poles
if the earth roted the opposite direction how would that effect ther coreolis effect?
everything would be opposite w/ eastern intensification
what winds do Hadely cells produce?
trade winds
what winds do Ferrel cells produce?
what winds do polar cells produce?
where does Pacific Common water originate?
in the upper mid-latitudes of the Pacific -- around 45 -- 50 degrees

the Pacific Ocean, due to land forms, does not have the extreme latitude conditions to produce bottom water
asb the NADW flows to Antartica how does the Coreolis effect influence it?
it does not move directly northward but goes a bit eastward or westward -- due mostly to the C. effect (and partly due to bottom topography)