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Section 3
The Surface Circulation of the Ocean

In this section you will find materials that support the implementation of EarthComm Florida, Section 3: The Surface Circulation of the Ocean.

Inquiring Further

  1. To learn more about the relationship between surface currents and climate, visit the following web sites:

    Ocean and Climate, NASA
    Looks at the connection between the oceans and atmosphere, what ocean circulation is and why it is important, and its effects on climate.

    Temperature of the Gulf Stream, NASA
    Explains how the Gulf Stream current plays an extremely important role in regulating global climate. Includes a high-resolution satellite image.

    Boundary Currents, NOAA
    Examines the circulation of gyres.  Describes the Gulf Stream and its effects on climate along the North American as well as European coasts.

  2. To learn more seasonal upwelling along the west coast of North America, visit the following web site:

    Coastal Upwelling Indices, Pacific Fisheries Environmental Laboratory, NOAA
    Provides a map of the west coast of the United States. Click on the red data points to view graphs of average monthly upwelling index values for several years.

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

Surface Currents

Using Flotsam to Study Ocean Currents, NASA
Contains information regarding the spill of shoes and rubber duckies in the Pacific that students investigate in Section 6, specifically how the spill led to a greater understanding of ocean circulation patterns.

Ocean Currents and Climate, USC
Covers the effect of wind stress on the water surface, the impact of the Coriolis effect on surface current patterns, and continent interference. Includes text and images to explain the major ocean gyres, transverse currents, western and eastern boundary, and the effect of plate tectonics on surface circulation.


Upwelling, NOAA
Examines upwelling and its effects on coastal ecosystems.

Major upwelling areas along the world's coasts, NOAA
Image that highlights major upwelling areas along the world's coasts.

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