Ocean surface currents shape your local climate and ecosystem by transferring heat from the equator to the poles. This is part of the reason the United Kingdom is warmer and wetter than one would expect for its latitude. The flow of ocean water from one place to another is driven and shaped by a variety of factors including wind, water density (thermohaline circulation), seafloor bathymetry, and the Coriolis effect.

Use this layer to explore the patterns and interconnections of these powerful forces.


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Noun

measurement of depths of bodies of water.

climate
Noun

all weather conditions for a given location over a period of time.

Noun

the result of Earth's rotation on weather patterns and ocean currents. The Coriolis effect makes storms swirl clockwise in the Southern hemisphere and counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere.

Noun

number of things of one kind in a given area.

Noun

community and interactions of living and nonliving things in an area.

Noun

imaginary line around the Earth, another planet, or star running east-west, 0 degrees latitude.

Noun

distance north or south of the Equator, measured in degrees.

ocean current
Noun

continuous, predictable, directional movement of seawater.

thermohaline circulation
Noun

ocean conveyor belt system in which water moves between the cold depths and warm surface in oceans throughout the world.