EAS212 Lecture Notes - Lecture 11: Geostrophic Current, Boundary Current, Pycnocline

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Western intensification: water moving eastward (in the westerly winds band) is deflected more than water moving westward (in the trade winds zone, westerly zone water is transported towards the gyre center over the entire ocean width. Trade wind zone little deflection; flow pushes water to west side of the ocean: gyre center is offset to the west. Pressure gradient is larger on the west side (steeper slope) stronger geostrophic currents. The pycnocline is also pushed down, meaning the boundary current is also deeper (besides being faster) Front: encounter of two water masses/currents with distinct characteristics. If a meander is tight enough, it pinches off to form an isolated ring: meander: snakelike bends in the current. Eddies are important for transporting heat, nutrients and marine organisms around. Gulf stream eddies: with strong fronts separating the cold water to the north of the gulf.

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