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Ocean Circulation- Part 1.docx

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Life Sciences
Luc Bernier

Ocean Circulation: Part 1 Salinity: - Total amount of solid material dissolved in water - Typically salinity is 3.5% or 35% - The poles are less salty due to melting - The evaporation of water at the equator leads to more salinity Deep Ocean Variation: - Surface ocean, salinity is variable - The deeper we go into the oceans the less salty (overall) it gets, it also become more uniform o Deeper ocean salinity is nearly the same Density vs. Depth: - Density differences cause a layered ocean - Pycnocline, the abrupt change in density with depth o Temperature plays a huge roll in the density of water  Warmer water tends to be less dense (near the top) o Maximum density occurs at 4 degrees Celsius o Thermocline, is the name given to the increase in temperature as the depth decreases  Radiation can only penetrate so deep … - Temperature is the dominant factor as to why we see differences in the deeper vs. surface water Ocean Currents: - Movement of water is persistent and horizontal - At surface it is driven by friction from prevailing winds - No surface current below 100m o The currents redistribute heat  Warm waters are brought to the poles where they are cooled and then brought back to the equator where they once again heat up The Ekman Spiral: - The movement of the water is on an angle - Direction of water drift influenced b
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