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Activity 1 -
Causes of Ocean Circulation

Use the resources listed below to help you complete this activity.


To learn more about this topic, visit the following web sites:

Oceans of the World

Ocean of the World - Geography -
Site contains links to further information on the Arctic, Atlantic, Indian, Pacific, and Southern Oceans. Click on the ocean of your choice to be given a list of more links that contain information such as political maps and maps of the ocean floor.

Exploring the Ocean Basins with Satellite Altimeter Data - NOAA National Geophysical Data Center
Online article reviews physical features of the ocean basins and the technology that scientists use to study these basins. This site also contains several images to explain how the technology works.

CIA, The World Factbook
Provides detailed information about each ocean, including location, characteristics of water masses in the ocean, and how the ocean influences climate. Click on the ocean of your interest for more information.

The Warm and the Cold Ocean

What is Climate? - TOPEX/Poseidon, Jet Propulsion Lab, NASA
First window defines climate. After reading text, click on link at bottom of screen to cover topics that include the connection between the oceans and atmosphere, what ocean circulation is and why it is important, and the seasons of the oceans. Several of the windows have color images.

The Circulation of the Oceans

Gulf Stream Temperatures- NASA's Visible Earth
Explains this ocean current, which plays an extremely important role in regulating global climate. Includes a high-resolution satellite image.

The Wind Stress on the Surface of the Ocean

Wind Speed and Wave Height- NOAA NDBC Science Education Pages
Explains the relationship between wind and waves.

Surface Wind Fields Over the Oceans- NASA's Earth Observing System
This site includes a color image showing the wind patterns over the Pacific and explains how wind patterns form and are documented by scientists.

The Coriolis Effect

Getting Around the Coriolis Force - David J. Van Domelen, Ohio State University
Online article reviews the basic physics behind the Coriolis effect, how the Coriolis effect influences the operation of the atmosphere and oceans, and why the Coriolis effect is only relevant on certain (larger) scales.


Inquiring Further:

To learn more about careers in oceanography, visit the following web sites:

Oceanographers at work:Training and careers for tomorrow's ocean scientists

Interested in a Career Oceanography?

Careers and Jobs in Marine Biology and Oceanography

Oceanography - And Your Career

To learn more about harnessing wave power, visit the following web site:

Wave Energy

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Last updated: May 11, 2010

This project is supported, in part, by the National Science Foundation and the AGI Foundation. Opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Foundation.




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