Questions tagged [ocean-currents]

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How far do substances travel when thrown into the ocean?

If I walk up to a pier and throw kool aid into the ocean, where will those kool aid particles end up on a long enough time scale? Is it arbitrary? Will they travel the entire ocean at one point?
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How large were Mars' ocean tides and to what extent could they keep the oceans mixing and tend to keep salinity uniform? Has this been modeled?

This answer to Salinity of Martian water 3.5 Billion years ago in Astronomy says that most estimates of Mars' ocean's salinity are pretty high; The article "Water Activity and the Challenge for ...
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how old are the gulf stream and the NAC?

After reading about the NAC (North Atlantic Current) weakening in the news, we got to wondering about its history and that of the gulf stream. Specifically, how and when did they start? Were there ...
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How authentic was the movie scene in "The day after tomorrow" related to the understanding of the north Atlantic current system?

Today's The Guardian headline was that Climate crisis: Scientists spot warning signs of Gulf Stream collapse. It reminded an old movie called "The Day After Tomorrow", which suggested the ...
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1 answer
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How fast is the Gulf Stream near shore?

The Gulf Stream is the fastest ocean current in the world with peak velocities near 2m/s, a surprisingly high figure. But I think that the speed is out in the open ocean, and it would be slower near ...
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What makes Eastern Boundary Currents cold?

As far as I am aware, there are two separate processes that cause Eastern Boundary Currents (EBCs) to have cold Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs). One is offshore Ekman transport, which leads to coastal ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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What is the fastest ocean deep current?

The Gulf Stream is the fastest ocean current in the world with peak velocities near 2m/s. Source: marine.coastal.edu What about deep currents, North Atlantic Deep Water, Antarctic Bottom Water, etc? ...
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8 votes
2 answers
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Why is Somalia so dry?

Most deserts are a result of the rainshadow effect, cold currents, the subtropical ridges, or a combination of those. Knowing this, how is the Somali desert caused? It is notable since it has a desert ...
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Is it possible to get trapped in a circle of water in a rip current?

According to the YouTube video Rip Currents: How to Survive the Deadliest Ocean's Trick, a rip current occurs when there are two circles of water spinning close to shore in opposite directions such ...
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What is the weather data covering the range of 359 to 360 degree

I downloaded a grib file of oceanography (Mean Wave Period) from ERA-Interim and the longitude values give the value at the points is 0,1, 2, 3....357, 358, 359 If I have geographical coordinates ...
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Finding vessel and wave's angle of attack [closed]

I am finding angle between ship's heading and component in wave (wave's angle of attack), not sure if ES is a right place to ask this type of question. Should it be the difference between mean wave ...
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Where can I find wave height/period, current velocity and wind speed/direction data at the Qiangzhou strait in China?

I'm looking for time series of wave height/ period, velocity currents and wind speed/direction specifically for the Qiangzhou strait in China. Global data sets could also work.
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Why an inertial gyro has a frequency and a geostrophic gyro does not?

Inertial flow is given by the balance between Coriolis and centrifugal forces. A geostrophic flow is given by a balance between Coriolis and the gradients of pressure. The frequency of the inertial ...
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Why do Mediterranean main currents surrounding landmasses turn counter-clockwise?

At North Hemisphere, main superficial currents turn clock-wise, because of Coriolis Effect. I would expect on Mediterranean Sea to have currents turning in the same sense, but, surrounding landmasses,...
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8 votes
2 answers
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What goes into a tide power prediction for every fifteen minutes over the next twenty five years?

I was watching a segment about tidal power generation on a PBS NewsHour broadcast. I've set the time code at about 11:45 to capture a little background. This bit ...
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Velocity gradient of surface ocean current in dephts

How much speed of surface currents decrease in ocean depth? Approximately? I am wondering if there is any significant gradient within the top 30m ocean layer? Can this be theoretically calculated?
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How is the distribution of Argo floats managed over the Earth's oceans?

The BBC News article Climate change: Oceans 'soaking up more heat than estimated' mentions Argo floats as one technology to measure the temperature of the oceans, and links to argo.ucsd.edu where ...
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What is the (average) velocity of ocean currents?

Does anybody know where to find statistical (average, standard deviation) data on velocities of ocean currents, such as Equatorial countercurrent North of Madagascar Agulhas current East Australia ...
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Is there a correlation between the underwater geological activity and topology of the mid Atlantic ridge/ South American plate and the Gulf Stream?

I just had a little eureka moment! I was looking again at this mid atlantic ridge along the western edge of the Eurasian plate. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lists_of_volcanoes How it and the way it ...
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7 votes
2 answers
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How are chenier ridges and strand plains formed at wave dominated coastlines?

In the attached image, we can see chenier ridges and strand plains. How are they formed and what is the involvement of rip and longshore currents in their formation?
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Why don't Antarctic waters have more upwellings, when Arctic waters are so rich in upwellings?

Formation of ice and hence more dense saltwater sinking happens in both polar regions, creating downwellings. Meanwhile, only a few spots in Antarctica have upwellings I refer to this image: https://...
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Stream function on a periodic domain?

Part 1 In this paper the authors calculate the barotropic stream function from an output of a numerical model as: $$\psi(x,y)=\int_0^y\int_{-H}^0u(x,y',z)~dz~dy'$$ over a global domain and this is ...
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Why does wind blowing against a strong current create way bigger waves?

It's a well known fact that wind will cause very big waves if blowing against a strong current, for example in the gulf stream off the US coast, or in the bay of San Francisco with a very strong (5 ...
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If a prevailing wind traveled due east in the Northern Hemisphere, would the Coriolis Effect act on the water?

I am in a Marine Environmental Science II class, and we are discussing the Ekman Spiral. As I understand, the Coriolis Effect does not occur when whatever is observed does not change latitude. So, if ...
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13 votes
2 answers
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Did the formation of Panama trigger the beginning of Ice Ages?

I have been studying ocean currents and associated energy flows in the eastern Pacific and western Atlantic oceans. I also looked at El Nino cycles. I also noted when the large glacial periods ...
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7 votes
2 answers
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What mechanism is used to measure ocean currents from cables?

The volume transport of the Florida Current (one of the parts of the Gulf Stream) is measured using an underwater cable. What are the processes that allow for these measurements? How can we obtain ...
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Guinea Current existence in the Atlantic

Why does the Guinea Current exist at all? There are no similar currents in the Pacific or Indian Oceans and the Guinea Current also disappear during northern summers. Why?
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Thermohaline current in North Atlantic

The thermohaline current in the North Atlantic ocean sinks because it gets cooled, or it gets cooled because of sinking?
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5 votes
1 answer
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Depth of the wind-induced currents and the shoreline

In the open sea the speed of the current in the developed sea can be estimated as 3% the wind velocity at 10 meters. Why is ocean surface velocity around 3% of wind velocity? Is there a similar ...
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3 votes
2 answers
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Land's effect on winds and currents?

If we did a thought experiment and imagined the Earth to be covered in a global ocean (ie. no land to slow winds or direct ocean currents) would winds and waves be perpetually enormous or would they ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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Difference in surface temperature between the Northwest Atlantic and Northeast Atlantic

Why is the surface waters in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean colder than the surface waters of the Northeast Atlantic Ocean?
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Is there a formula to calculate shoreline length or water position from ocean?

Assuming in the past the water of the oceans were lower does it also mean that the water was not where it is right now?
 If yes, then how do we calculate approximately where the water would have been ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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How to calculate the kinetic energy spectra from ocean current timeseries?

How does one practically compute the kinetic energy spectra from a timeseries of u- and v- Cartesian components of ocean current velocity ($m s^{-1}$) obtained from an Acoustic Doppler Current ...
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2 votes
2 answers
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If a ship on its way to Germany from Norway sank, where will the survivors likely end up?

a) what are the chances, taking into account influencing factors like ocean currents, that these survivors will end up on English shores? b) what are the chances, again taking into account all ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Why is Thermohaline Circulation (THC) pivotal to life on Earth?

Thermohaline circulation (THC) is an instance in nature in which oceanic fluctuation of amassity, temperature and sodium matter is observed on a global scale. It is compared to and sometimes called ...
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Do U & V vectors differ depending on GRIB layers (wind vs current)?

Essentially I would like to know how current direction "DIR C" and wind direction "WDIR" for gribs is computed. I'm trying to compute some angles from u and v vectors in grib files. My understanding ...
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North Bay of Bengal warm pool anomaly

I am looking for an explanation for this warm pool of water in the North and North East Bay of Bengal - North Bay Warm Water Anomaly. Currently the path of the sun is towards the southern hemisphere ...
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4 votes
2 answers
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Why is Vladivostock so cold, while Dalian is so warm?

Over at SE History we're pondering the relation of temperature to Russian motives in establishing its Port Arthur colony in the late 1800's. Wikipedia says that Vladivostok is cold due to the ...
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1 answer
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Making Sense of Coldwater Ocean Currents

The basic understanding of ocean currents is that warm currents carry moisture whereas cold currents carry nutrients. This is why some scientists believe in the connection between the Arctic ice caps ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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Is the gulf stream both a wind-driven current and part of thermohaline circulation?

Currents are formed in 3 major ways: Tidal Currents Wind-driven Currents Thermohaline circulation I've seen the gulf stream mentioned as both a wind-driven surface current and being part of the ...
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Thermohaline: Why is cold and dense seawater salty when warm water holds more dissolved salts?

I read that thermohaline circulation is caused by cold and saline water sinking, while warm and less dense water rises. link I understand that saline water is more dense, as there is a higher mass ...
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6 votes
1 answer
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Can up-welling water at oceanic fronts be physically felt?

If you were swimming/floating within a body of water experiencing upwelling due to sea-surface thermal fronts, would you be able to physically feel the water that is being up-welled or is it on a ...
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ocean current frequency

In this paper by Muller and Garrett it is stated: It is a standard expectation that currents in the ocean interior with frequencies much less than the Coriolis frequency will lead to an Ekman ...
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What is the relationship between Ekman transport and Ekman pumping?

Ekman transport is the integrated horizontal flow in the boundary layer resulting from the balance between frictional forces (at the surface or bottom) and Coriolis. Meanwhile, Ekman pumping is a ...
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16 votes
2 answers
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Great Pacific Garbage Patch Equilibrium Points

I was watching the science channel yesterday and the program mentioned the Great Pacific Garbage rim. I was struck by the illustration (and pretty much every subsequent animation/picture I've seen now ...
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5 votes
1 answer
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What are the effects of underwater "windmills"?

Most early examples of tidal energy generators used barrages (damns) to generate electricity (La Rance, Kislaya Guba, Annapolis Royal). Meanwhile, a lot of newer projects use rotary blades in the ...
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Relationship between obliquity, antarctic circumpolar current, and atmospheric $\ce{CO2}$

Hannah's text on the biology of climate change appears to suggest that forcing due to changes in obliquity can act in opposite ways in Antarctic waters. On one hand, "Low obliquity brings cool ...
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A Wide-Open Passage Between the Indian and the Pacific [closed]

Today, through plate tectonics, the islands of Indonesia and the Philippines stand as barriers between the Indian and Pacific oceans. In fact, there once was a warm ocean current flowing from the ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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If the Oceans Were Deeper

Back home, the average depths of the world's oceans--and the Mediterranean Sea--are as follows: Atlantic--3926 meters Pacific--4028 meters Indian--3963 meters Arctic--1205 meters Southern--4500 ...
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Does the Labrador current affect North Atlantic climate?

This summer has seen very low sea surface temperature anomalies in the North Atlantic. Using animations of these over the last year I feel the runoff of freshwater from Hudson Bay, into the Labrador ...
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