25 terms

Ocean Currents and Global Winds

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Coriolis Effect
An apparent force ultimately due to the rotation of the Earth
Polar Easterlies
the dry, cold prevailing winds that blow from the high-pressure areas of the polar highs at the North and South Poles towards low-pressure areas within the Westerlies at high latitudes (between 90 and 60 degrees latitude)
Prevailing Westerlies
prevailing winds from the west toward the east in the middle latitudes between 30 and 60 degrees latitude
Trade Winds
the nearly constant easterly winds that dominate most of the tropics
Doldrums
a belt of calms and light baffling winds north of the equator between the northern and southern trade winds in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
Gulf Stream Current
is a warm Atlantic Ocean current
upwelling
wind-driven motion of dense, cooler, and usually nutrient-rich water towards the ocean surface, replacing the warmer, usually nutrient-depleted surface water
overturn-mid ocean current
surface water is chilled, colder water sinks and becomes denser and continues to sink to bottom forcing water to the top, warming and less dense to top
thermohaline
currents that vary based on their salt content
salinity
the amount of salt in a body of water
turbidity current
an underwater current of usually rapidly moving, sediment-laden water moving down a slope
long shore current
a wind driven current that moves parallel to the beach based on wind direction
North Atlantic Equatorial Current
current flows west-to-east at about 3-10°N in the Atlantic and Pacific basins
North Pacific Equatorial Current
the major eastward moving surface current that flows from the West Pacific warm pool to the cooler East Pacific
Japan Current
a north-flowing ocean current on the west side of the North Pacific Ocean
California Current
a Pacific Ocean current that moves southward along the western coast of North America
Alaska Current
a southwestern cold-water current along the coast of British Columbia and the Alaska Panhandle
Canary Current
a wind-driven surface current that is part of the North Atlantic Gyre that flows southwest
density
mass per unit volume
convection currents
the movement of groups of molecules within fluids such as liquids or gases
eddy
the swirling of a fluid and the reverse current created when the fluid flows past an obstacle
global winds
the large-scale movement of air, and together with ocean circulation is the means by which thermal energy is redistributed on the surface of the Earth.
trenches
a type of excavation or depression in the ground that is generally deeper than it is wide, and narrow compared to its length
ridges
a geological feature consisting of a chain of mountains or hills that form a continuous elevated crest for some distance
continental shelf
an underwater landmass which extends from a continent, resulting in an area of relatively shallow water known as a shelf sea