Related topics: ocean ยท climate change

Successful ocean-monitoring satellite mission ends

The Jason-2/Ocean Surface Topography Mission (OSTM), the third in a U.S.-European series of satellite missions designed to measure sea surface height, successfully ended its science mission on Oct. 1. NASA and its mission ...

Ocean plastic waste probably comes from ships, report says

Most of the plastic bottles washing up on the rocky shores of Inaccessible Island, aptly named for its sheer cliffs rising from the middle of the South Atlantic, probably come from Chinese merchant ships, a study published ...

45 reasons the Great Barrier Reef is in trouble

When the managers of the Great Barrier Reef recently rated its outlook as very poor, a few well-known threats dominated the headlines. But delve deeper into the report and you'll find that this global icon is threatened by ...

Bacteria feeding on Arctic algae blooms can seed clouds

New research finds Arctic Ocean currents and storms are moving bacteria from ocean algae blooms into the atmosphere where the particles help clouds form. These particles, which are biological in origin, can affect weather ...

Plastic junk spawns desert island disaster in Pacific

Floating plastic garbage has swamped a remote Pacific island once regarded as an environmental jewel and scientists say little can be done to save it while a throwaway culture persists.

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Ocean current

An ocean current is a continuous, directed movement of ocean water generated by the forces acting upon the water, such as the Earth's rotation, wind, temperature, salinity differences and tides caused by the gravitational pull of the Moon and the Sun. Depth contours, shoreline configurations and interaction with other currents influence a current's direction and strength.

Ocean currents can flow for thousands of kilometers, and together they create the great flow of the global conveyor belt which plays a dominant part in determining the climate of many of the Earth’s regions. Perhaps the most striking example is the Gulf Stream, which makes northwest Europe much more temperate than any other region at the same latitude. Another example is the Hawaiian Islands, where the climate is cooler (sub-tropical) than the tropical latitudes in which they are located, because of the effect of the California Current.

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