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ZingPath: Oceans

Effect of Sun on Ocean Currents

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Effect of Sun on Ocean Currents

Earth & Space Science

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You get to learn all about ocean currents, how they are created by energy from the sun, and the factors that control their direction.

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Now You Know

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to complete the following:

  • State how ocean currents are produced.
  • Relate the energy of the sun to ocean currents.

Everything You'll Have Covered

What factors work together to produce ocean currents?

~ Global winds, the Coriolis effect, continental deflection, and the sun all work together to produce ocean currents.

How does the sun affect the creation of ocean currents?

~ The sun affects the creation of ocean currents by heating the surface of the Earth more at the equator than at the poles. This uneven distribution of heat leads to the production of convection currents in the oceans.

How is the temperature of water related to its density?

~ Water temperature and density are directly related. The warmer water is, the less dense it is. The cooler water is, the denser it is.

How do convection currents work?

~ As warm water on the surface of the ocean cools, it becomes denser and moves to the ocean floor. Once it has reached the ocean floor, this water travels from the Polar Regions to the equatorial regions. As it enters the equatorial regions, it begins to warm and becomes less dense. With this, it rises and replaces the water on the surface. Surface currents then carry this water back to the Polar Regions, where it cools, becomes denser, and falls to the ocean floor again.

Tutorial Details

Approximate Time 2 Minutes
Pre-requisite Concepts Students should have an intellectual grasp on what an ocean current is.
Course Earth & Space Science
Type of Tutorial Animation
Key Vocabulary ocean current,,