Dynamic Oceanography, Atmospheric Circulation and Currents


The ocean's currents are driven by atmospheric factors. Here, we learn how atmospheric circulation drives surface currents.

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Table of Contents

Title slide

Density of air is controlled by temperature, pressure and moisture content.

Atmospheric processes

Composition and Properties of the Atmosphere

Simple circulation without a rotating Earth

Atmospheric Circulation

Uneven Solar Heating and Latitude

Rotation of the Earth strongly influences winds.

Coriolis Deflection

Three major convection cells are present in each hemisphere.

The Coriolis Effect

A plan view of atmospheric circulation

Wind Patterns

Monsoons, Sea Breezes and Land Breezes


Sea Breezes And Land Breezes


Surface Currents

Wind-driven currents are produced by the interaction between the wind and the water.

Surface Currents

Flow Within a Gyre

Global surface water circulation

The Ekman spiral.

An Ekman spiral in the northern hemisphere

Flow Within a Gyre

The sea surface is warped into broad mounds and depressions

Dynamic topography of the sea surface

Flow Within a Gyre

Flow rates in the North Atlantic Ocean


Author: Sean Todd

Email: stodd@coa.edu

Home Page: http://www.coa.edu/faculty/webpages/stodd/index.

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