Thermohaline Circulation

Ocean Currents, Global Warming

Terms in this set (...)

Ocean Conveyor Belt
System that circulates water throughout the world's oceans based on density and salinity.

Moves cold, salty deep-sea water from higher to lower latitudes; creates warm, less-salty shallow current and cold, salty deep-sea current.

Transfers heat from the equator to Europe/North America, causing temperate climate.
Thermohaline Circulation
Driven by density and salinity differences-- heating and cooling at the surface (upwelling and downwelling) and freshwater (evaporation/sea ice formation) cause water to move
Wind Driven Currents
Once in motion, an ocean current can be slowed by friction, deflected by the Coriolis effect, blocked by coastlines (continents, islands, etc), or altered by horizontal pressure gradients.
--Ocean gyres
Arctic Ice Cap
the frozen Arctic ocean (North Pole-- when melted water is displaced and sea level lowers)
Antarctic Ice Cap
frozen water on top of the Antarctic continent (South Pole-- when melted sea level rises)
-Typically found in surface waters (closer to sunlight) except in instances of "upwelling"
-Transfered by the Ocean Conveyor Belt
-Trapped in the atmosphere by greenhouse gases
Heat Capacity
Ability of water to regulate environmental conditions. Water can absorb and relase a lot of heat without changing temperature drastically
Sea Level
The average level of the surface of the ocean measured along a shoreline.
Global Heat Transport
Propelled by the Ocean Conveyor Belt-- as warm water from the equator is distributed around the world nearby land is affected (i.e.- Europe/North America temperate climate vs. frigid Russian tundra)
Albedo Affect
How much heat (radiation) from the sun is reflected or absorbed by different parts of the earth.

Most heat from the sun is absorbed by surfaces without snow or ice (they reflect sunlight)
Can be used to calculate the temperature of a climate at the time ice was frozen
--layers of ice: years:: isotopes: temperature
when colder, more salty, more dense water is forced upward in order to fill low pressure voids
--occurs mainly in the pacific
--contributes to Ocean Conveyor Belt
when colder, more salty, more dense water sinks and warmer water rises
--occurs mainly in the pacific
--contributes to temperate climates of N America/Europe
Younger Dryas Event
12,000 BC. The shutdown of NADW (North Atlantic Deep Water) resulted in ice age conditions
Ocean Gyre
large system of rotating ocean currents, particularly those involved with large wind movements.

--Wind Driven Currents
Coriolis Effect
Influences how objects travel accross the earth because its spherical shape/how it rotates causes different points on earth's surface to move more quickly than others

--EQ moves fastest, poles slowest because less space to cover in the same ammount of time
---------> think formula for speed
Ekman Transport
Average movement of seawater under influence of Wind Driven Currents
-Net sea level
Causes Upwelling/Downwelling; Force per unit area.
Day-to-day changes in atmospheric conditions, including temperature, precipitation, wind speed, wind direction, humidity, air pressure, and clouds.
Seasonal pattern of weather conditions in an area over many years; does not change rapidly
Land Breeze
movement of air from land to sea at night, created when cooler, denser air from the land forces up warmer air over the sea
Sea Breeze
movement of air from sea to land during the day when cooler air from above the water moves over the land, forcing the heated, less dense air above the land to rise