Ocean Currents

Just some pictures of ocean currents.




Figure 1. This map shows the global surface current system under average conditions for winter months in the Northern Hemisphere. Warm currents are shown as solid red arrows, and cold currents as dashed blue arrows.

Figure 2. This schematic shows generalized interbasin flow for the indicated oceans, and their horizontal connections in the Southern Ocean and the Indonesian Passages. The surface layer circulations are in purple, intermediate and SAMW are in red, deep in green, and near-bottom in blue.

The Gulf Stream is one of the strong ocean currents that carries warm water from the tropics to the higher latitudes. In contrast to the nontechnological methods used to produce early maps of the Gulf Stream, today's remote sensing technology on satellites allows scientists to delineate the current's features and follow changes in its position. (See "Geospatial Technologies" for a satellite image of the Gulf Stream.)






I love looking at oceanographic maps because the water-covered parts of the globe are so often de-emphasised—I guess because most of us humans live on land—even though most of the interesting things happening on Earth involve water.

Oceanographic maps are like looking at the world inside-out—perhaps as it should be seen, not from our perspective but from the majority perspective.


Drawing of the continents with the major ocean currents.

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Europe's climate fate decided by tussle between oceanic currents





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Ocean Currents





Diagram of the seven major currents




Maths concepts:

A great lecture on this topic was given by Stephen C Stearns and recorded & displayed by the people at AcademicEarth.org.

West coasts are really different the world over because, duh, the Earth is spinning. (Eastward.) That throws stuff up on the shores of the west (e.g. Nitrogen on one of the Chilean coasts which ends up becoming the world’s major source of guano) You also get a different clockwise/anticlockwise circulation of the ocean currents in the Northern and Southern hemispheres because that eastward force pushes differently below -vs- above the equator. Pretty simple logic and it makes things be the way they are.


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