ENV 151 Study Guide - Quiz Guide: South Equatorial Current, North Equatorial Current, South Atlantic Gyre
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1. How does the Coriolis effect influence ocean currents?
The Coriolis effect causes the deflection of the path of moving objects, including the
path of surface currents, to the right in the Northern Hemisphere and to the left in the
Southern Hemisphere. This deflection generates the large ocean gyres that flow in a
circular path in the oceans.
2. Name the five subtropical gyres and identify the main surface currents in each.
• North Atlantic Gyre – Gulf Stream, North Atlantic Drift, Canary Current, and
North Equatorial Current.
• South Atlantic Gyre – Brazil Current, South Equatorial Current, and Benguela
• North Pacific Gyre – California Current, North Equatorial Current, Kuroshito
Current, and North Pacific Current.
• South Pacific Gyre – South Equatorial Current, Peru Current, West Wind Drift,
and East Australian Current.
• Indian Ocean Gyre – South Equatorial Current, Agulhas Current, West Wind
Drift, and West Australian Current.
3. How do ocean currents influence climate? Provide at least three examples.
Ocean currents influence climate because the currents are major redistributors of heat
and energy throughout the globe. Warm currents such as the Gulf Stream cause regions
that would normally be cold to be warmer. For example, New York is warm for its
latitude. Cold currents cause the air above them to be cooler. San Francisco is relatively
cool in the summer because of the presence of the cool California Current off its
coastline. Cold currents also increase the aridity of an area. The Peru Current off the
coast of South America causes stable atmospheric conditions that resist cloud formation
and moisture-bringing precipitation.
4. Why is deep-ocean circulation referred to as thermohaline circulation?
Deep-ocean circulation is a global circulation pattern that relies on temperature and
density differences to determine if the current will flow at the surface or on the ocean
6. Why is the shoreline considered an interface?
An interface is a boundary where different parts of a system interact; the shoreline is a
boundary between the ocean processes and those found on land and in the atmosphere.
7. Distinguish among shore, shoreline, coast, and coastline.
The shore is the area that ranges from the lowest tide level to the furthest reaches of
land affected by storm waves, while the shoreline is the line that demarcates between
land and sea. The coast is the area that extends from the shore to as far as ocean-related
features can be found, where the coastline marks the coast’s seaward edge.