How Do Currents Work?

What are currents?

The term “current” describes the motion of the ocean.

Ocean currents are driven by wind, water density differences, and tides.

Oceanic currents describe the movement of water from one location to another..

What is the ocean currents called?

Ocean current. … Deep ocean currents are driven by density and temperature gradients. Thermohaline circulation, also known as the ocean’s conveyor belt, refers to the deep ocean density-driven ocean basin currents.

What are deep currents?

Deep ocean currents are driven by density and temperature gradients. Thermohaline circulation is also known as the ocean’s conveyor belt (which refers to deep ocean density-driven ocean basin currents). These currents, called submarine rivers, flow under the surface of the ocean and are hidden from immediate detection.

How do currents form?

Ocean currents can be caused by wind, density differences in water masses caused by temperature and salinity variations, gravity, and events such as earthquakes or storms. Currents are cohesive streams of seawater that circulate through the ocean.

What are the 5 major ocean currents?

There are five main gyres: the North and South Pacific Subtropical Gyres, the North and South Atlantic Subtropical Gyres, and the Indian Ocean Subtropical Gyre.

What are the 3 types of ocean currents?

Two major kinds of currents define the planet’s oceans: surface currents driven by wind and deep-water currents driven by variations in seawater density.Surface Currents. ••• … Deep-water Currents. ••• … Measuring Currents. ••• … Currents vs. Tides. … Ocean Currents & Humankind. •••

What are the three main factors driving ocean currents?

Oceanic currents are driven by three main factors:The rise and fall of the tides. Tides create a current in the oceans, which are strongest near the shore, and in bays and estuaries along the coast. … Wind. Winds drive currents that are at or near the ocean’s surface. … Thermohaline circulation.

What happens if ocean currents stop?

If it continues to slow, that could have profound consequences for Earth’s inhabitants. Studies suggest it would mean much colder winters and hotter summers in Europe, changing rainfall patterns in the tropics, and warmer water building up along the U.S. coast that can fuel sea level rise and destructive storms.

What do currents do?

Ocean currents act much like a conveyor belt, transporting warm water and precipitation from the equator toward the poles and cold water from the poles back to the tropics. Thus, ocean currents regulate global climate, helping to counteract the uneven distribution of solar radiation reaching Earth’s surface.

How long does a current last in the ocean?

1,000 yearsOne type of ocean current even continually empties oceans into one another and essentially flips the water in them upside down every 1,000 years [source: NOAA: “Ocean”].

What is ocean currents in geography?

Ocean currents are the continuous, predictable, directional movement of seawater driven by gravity, wind (Coriolis Effect), and water density. … Horizontal movements are referred to as currents, while vertical changes are called upwellings or downwellings.

What are the main ocean currents?

There are five main gyres: the North and South Pacific Subtropical Gyres, the North and South Atlantic Subtropical Gyres, and the Indian Ocean Subtropical Gyre. These surface currents play an important role in moderating climate by transferring heat from the equator towards the poles.

What causes the Coriolis effect?

The main cause of the Coriolis effect is the Earth’s rotation. As the Earth spins in a counter-clockwise direction on its axis, anything flying or flowing over a long distance above its surface is deflected.

What are the two main types of currents?

There are two type of Ocean Currents:Surface Currents–Surface Circulation.Deep Water Currents–Thermohaline Circulation.Primary Forces–start the water moving.The primary forces are:Secondary Forces–influence where the currents flow.Solar heating cause water to expand.More items…

How deep do ocean currents go?

Ocean currents are located at the ocean surface and in deep water below 300 meters (984 feet). They can move water horizontally and vertically and occur on both local and global scales.