The major ocean surface current patterns

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 18 December 2016

The major ocean surface current patterns

An ocean surface current is a constantly directed and continuous movement or flow of ocean water. Major ocean surface current patterns are powered by the wind. However, these patterns are also largely influenced by other factors such as the Corolis effect, which is the deflection of the water to the direction of the wind, the differences in heating across the globe, and the structure of the landmasses. These three factors result in more permanent and large scale water movements that become the major ocean surface current patterns around the world.

Generally, each of ocean hemispheres has its own gyre, which is the term for the circular movement of water. In the northern hemisphere, gyres move clockwise while in the southern hemisphere move counterclockwise. Examples of major ocean surface patterns around the world include Equatorial Counter Current, Kuroshio Current, North and South Equatorial Current, the Gulf Stream, and the North Atlantic Drift, among many others. 2. Compare and contrast: swells, breaking surf, and tides. Include water depth, wavelength, speed, and causes of each.

A swell in the ocean basically refers to the development of ocean surface waves that are of long wavelength on the sea. They have more stable directions compared to other oceanic waves because they are mainly caused by steady wind systems and tropical storms. On the other hand, certain waves go through a phenomenon termed as “breaking. ” These waves, also called “break surfs,” have bases that can longer support their upper part or top, which causes it to collapse. These usually happen when the wave runs through shallow water or when two waves run against each other.

Its speed and depth depends on the size of the entire wave and its wavelength depends on how the wave was formed. Finally, a tsunami is a chain of waves that are created when a large body of water, like an ocean, is swiftly displaced. In a deep ocean, a tsunami usually has a wavelength of 120 miles or 200 kilometers. When a tsunami starts to form it is usually deep and travels fast, but as it approaches the coast or the land, it becomes shallow and it speed slows down to 50 mph or 80 kilometers per hour.

The causes of a tsunami may include an earthquake, volcanic eruptions, massive underwater movements, and large asteroids hitting the sea or ocean, among others. 3. Discuss how tides in a bay depend on its location in the ocean. Since tides are largely dependent on the gravitational pull of the sun and the moon, its movement, occurrence, and size are influenced by its location in the ocean. Usually, when the moon and the sun are aligned with each other facing the Earth, the tides are either significantly high or low.

On the other hand, when the two are not aligned, the tides are not as significantly high or low. In terms of location, when a coastline or a bay is located approximately between the moon and the sun, its tides could either be very high or very low. However, since the pull of gravity is stronger in the bodies of water that are far from land, there are more tides in bays that are located farther from the coastline. In short, when a bay is farther out in the ocean, the more tides there will be and vice versa. 4.

Compare and contrast depositional and erosional coasts in terms of surface features, plate tectonic settings, and active processes. Two types of coasts that significantly differ from each other are depositional coasts and erosional coasts. Depositional coasts mainly have a lot of barrier islands, segments, and deltas. Their beaches are also well-developed as compared to the erosional coasts. One of its most prominent active processes is the longshore drift, which is a zigzag wave movement that causes the movement of sands and picks up sediments. One example of this type of coast is the Gulf Coast.

On the other hand, erosional coasts have irregular and steep bays and headlands that create sea arches, sea tracks, and sea caves but lack well-developed beaches except for certain protected areas. It’s most active process is erosion as its particles such as rocks, soils, and sediments are displaced by wind and water movement. Possibly the best examples of this type of coast are the United States west coast and the Australian Coastline. 5. Discuss the differences in capabilities necessary for survival of marine organisms (larger than plankton) in the pelagic zone versus the benthic zone.

There are several differences in the necessary survival capabilities of marine organisms between the pelagic zone and the benthic zone. The pelagic zone is any level or any part of the sea not near the bottom. On the other hand, the benthic zone is lowest region or area of an ocean, sear, or lake. Basic the main difference between the capabilities of the organism that live in the two zones include their tolerance of pressure and temperature and oxygen and nutrient requirement, among others. Since the pelagic zone covers areas that are not near the bottom, there are a lot of organisms that can survive in it.

There marine organisms are usually ones that cannot tolerate too much pressure and need adequate oxygen and nutrients, which are abundant in this region as compared to the benthic zone. Examples of these organisms include the billfish, tunas, and dorado, among others. On the other hand, those that can survive in the benthic zone are organisms that have a high tolerance for pressure and do not require abundant oxygen and nutrient supply, which are significantly lower in the region. Certain examples of these marine organisms in the benthic zone, which are also called “benthos” include starfish, clams, sea anemones, and oysters, among others.


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  • University/College: University of Arkansas System

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 18 December 2016

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