The Dynamic Ocean

63 terms by mrafalow 

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A low, elongated ridge of sand that parallels the coast

Barrier Island

Lowest tidal range, occurring near the times of the first-quarter and third-quarter phases of the moon

Neap tide

The accumulation of sediment found along the shore of a lake or ocean


mass of ocean water that flows from one place to another

ocean current

the horizontal distance separating successive crests or troughs


movement of water that flows horizontally in the upper part of the ocean's surface

surface current

the larger circular surface current pattern fond in each ocean


daily change in the elevation of the ocean surface


the rising of cold water from deeper layers to replace warmer surface water that has been moved away


highest tidal range that ocurs due to the alignment of Earth, the moon, and the sun

spring tide

the time interval between the passage of successive crests at a stationary point

wave period

current of ocean water that results from density differences among water masses

density current

longshore current

a near-shore current that flows parallel to the shore.


the distance that the wind has traveled across open water

Coriolis effect

the apparent deflective force of the Earth's rotation on all free moving objects, including the atmosphere and oceans; deflection is to right in Northern hemisphere and to the left in Southern hemisphere.

tidal range

the difference in height between successive high and low tides.

wave height

the vertical distance between the trough and crest of a wave.

wave refraction

the process by which the portion of a wave in shallow water slows, causing the wave to bend and tend to align itself with the underwater contours.

What causes ocean surface currents?

Friction between the ocean and wind on its surface

Currents affect climate by

Transferring heat and cold between the tropics and the polar regions

What is the importance of upwelling

It brings dissolved nutrients to the ocean's surface

A decrease in seawater temperature or an increase in salinity causes

an increase in seawater density

What causes density currents to form in the mediterranean sea?


Most ocean waves get their energy from

the wind

Which of the following factors does NOT help determine the height, length, and period of a wave?


When a wave grows so tall that they can topple over, they form ocean breakers called


circular motion

Energy moves through waves in a

wave height

What is the vertical distance between a trough and a crest?


The two forces that produce tides are gravity and


Ocean tides result largely from gravitational attraction of the

Which processes carve shoreline features?

erosion and abrasian

How does refraction cause wave crests to move when the waves approach the shore?

nearly parallel to the shoreline

Longshore currents move sediment as they

move parallel to the shore

Longshore currents form because

waves hit the coast at an angle and form currents in the surf zone

wave-cut platform

Which of the following is NOT a depositional shoreline feature?

Where do badmouth bars form across bays?

where currents are weak


Barrier islands form as the direct result of


What is a structure built parallel to the shore that shields the coast from breaking waves?

What is the direction of movement for surface currents?

Not all surface currents move in the same direction -- they move at a 45 degree angle to the wind.

What are surface movements caused by?

They are caused by wind.

What are gyres?

Circular looping currents.

What are the five main gyres?

Indian, North Atlantic, North Pacific, South Atlantic, South Pacific

Direction of rotation for the Northern Hemisphere?


Direction of rotation for the Southern Hemisphere?


Currents near the equator move toward the poles and do what?

They transport heat from the equator to the poles, balancing temperature.

Cold currents from the poles move toward the equator and do what?

They transport cool currents to the equator, balancing temperature.

What causes upwelling?


What are deep ocean currents driven by?

Density and temperature gradients.

What is a density current?

A density current is when a warm current floats on top of a cold current. Cold water sinks beneath the warmer current.

What are processes that decrease salinity?

Runoff from freshwater rivers, thawing of large icebergs.

What are processes that increase salinity?

Dissolving of mineral salts, and marine life decaying in sea, weathering of rocks, evaporation of ocean water, formation of sea icea.

What is a conveyor belt?

Thermohaline circulation, the large part of the ocean that is driven by global density gradients created by surface heat and freshwater fluxes.

What is a breaking wave?

A wave whose amplitude reaches a critical level at which the wave crashes.

What are the three main tidal patterns?

Reflection, refraction, and diffraction

What is refraction?

Bending of the wave crest as waves enter shallow water.

What is diffraction?

When water waves are only on the surface of the water.

What is reflection?

When the wave mirrors.

What is a tombolo?

A deposition landform in which an island is attached to the mainland by a narrow piece of land such as a spit or a bar.

What is a spit?

A deposition landform found off coasts.

What is a bar?

A Linear landform extending into a body of water, typically composed of sand.

What is a groin?

A rigid hydraulic structure built from the ocean shore or from a bank that interrupts water flow and the movement of sediment.

What is beach nourishment?

The process by which sediment (usually sand) lost through longshore drift or erosion is replaced from sources outside the eroding beach.

What is longshore drift?

Longshore drift consists of the transportation of sediments (usually sand) along a coast at an angle to the shoreline, depending on the wind.

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