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Ocean Currents – Introduction, Causes, Types, Factors Affecting

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Ocean water is continually moving, and not just in that frame of mind of waves and tides. Ocean current flows stream like huge waterways, clearing along in unsurprising ways. Few ocean currents stream at the surface; others stream profoundly inside the water. A few flows stream for brief distances; others cross whole sea bowls and even circle the globe.

Ocean current is a ceaseless, coordinated development of ocean water produced by various powers following up on the water, including wind, the Coriolis impact, breaking waves, cabling, and temperature and saltiness contrasts.

Causes of Ocean currents

Ocean currents are the developments of Ocean water because of gravity, the pivoting earth i.e Coriolis impact, the sun, and wind. The different forces decide the size, speed bearing, and state of ocean currents.

Factors influencing Ocean Currents

Ocean currents are influenced by two different forces. They are:

  1. Primary forces
  2. Secondary forces

Primary forces

  • Heat energy from the sun: Warming by the heat energy of the sun makes the water extend. . This causes an extremely slight inclination and water will in a general stream down the slant. And due to this, the water in the ocean at the equator is higher in altitude.
  • Coriolis force: The Coriolis force mediates and makes the water move directly on the northern side of the equator and to one side in the southern half of the globe.
  • Wind: Wind blowing on the outer layer of the sea pushes the water to move. Contact between the breeze and the water surface influences the development of the water body in its course.

Secondary Forces

  • Temperature: As discussed earlier cold water sinks and moves towards the equator and at the same time warm water from the equator moves towards the poles to replace the cold water. This in turn causes ocean currents due to the temperature of hot and cold water.
  • Differences in water density: The density of saline water is more than the density of typical water or relatively less saline water. Similarly, the density of cold water is higher than the density of hot water. Hence, water with higher density sinks and lesser density water floats.

Types of Ocean currents

Classification based on the temperature of ocean currents:

  1. Cold ocean currents: Cold ocean currents lead to the carriage of cold water to warm water regions. These flows are typically found on the east coast in the higher scopes in the Northern Hemisphere.
  2. Warm water currents: Warm ocean currents lead to the carriage of warm water to cold water regions. These flows are typically found on the east shoreline of mainland in the low and center scopes.

Classification based on the depth of water:

  1. Deep ocean currents: These ocean currents are caused due to secondary forces like the differences in densities of water due to salinity. Deep waters sink into the profound ocean basins at high scopes, where the temperatures are adequately cold to make the density increment.
  2. Surface ocean currents: These ocean currents are caused due to primary forces like wind and solar energy. These flows move heat from the tropical areas to the polar areas, affecting the neighborhood and worldwide weather.

List of various ocean currents

  • Oyashio Current
  • Equatorial Currents 
  • (ACC) Antarctic Circumpolar Current
  • Humboldt  current
  • Labrador Current
  • California current
  • Falkland Current
  • Kuroshio Current
  • Florida Current
  • Brazilian Current

Sample Questions

Question 1: What are cyclonic currents?


A cyclone is an air mass coursing a low-pressure framework, turning anticlockwise in the Northern and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. At higher scopes, where the breeze stream is for the most part cyclonic, the maritime course follows this pattern.

Question 2: What are anti-cyclonic currents?


An anticyclone is an air mass flowing through a high-pressure framework, pivoting clockwise in the Northern and anticlockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. The air course over the seas in the center scopes is anticyclonic.

Question 3: Describe the East Australian Current?


The East Australian current facilitates the movement of tropical marine fauna to natural surroundings in sub-tropical districts along the southeast Australian coast.

Last Updated : 03 Jul, 2022
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