Ocean Circulation and Waves
Ocean Circulation Topic outline:
- Surface Currents – driving force
- flow within a gyre
- Eckman spiral
- Eckman transport
- geostrophic gyres (currents)
- boundary and transverse currents
- Specific ocean currents
- Antarctic Ocean circulation
- Westwind drift / Eastwind drift
- Atlantic Ocean circulation
- Gulf Stream
- climate influences
- Thermohaline Circulation – driving force
- water masses
Ocean Waves Topic outline:
- Wind-generated waves
- factors influencing wave size
- Wind waves approaching shore
- breaking waves
- surf zone
Interesting places to visit:
Great graphics: http://seawifs.gsfc.nasa.gov/OCEAN_PLANET/HTML/oceanography_currents_1.html
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: http://www.noaa.gov/
Gulf Stream: http://daac.gsfc.nasa.gov/CAMPAIGN_DOCS/OCDST/classic_scenes/06_classics_boundary.html
El Nino info: http://www.ogp.noaa.gov/enso/
Some great cartoon movies: http://www.brainpop.com/science/light/waves/index.weml
Good surfing photos and videos: http://www.ocwaves.com/
When you are finished with this topic, you should be able to these questions:
- What would the pattern of ocean surface currents look like if there were no continents
- What causes the Ekman spiral?
- What is Ekman Transport and what effect does it have on geostrophic gyres?
- What climatic influences does the Gulf Stream have?
- What are the driving forces of surface and thermohaline circulation?
- How are ocean waves generated?
- What causes waves to break as they approach the shore?