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18 votes
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Great Pacific Garbage Patch Equilibrium Points

Yes, you're right, there should be (at least one) saddle point in the middle of the loop. And indeed, if you search for illustrations of Pacific ocean circulation, you can see the saddle point in ...
Ilmari Karonen's user avatar
18 votes

Great Pacific Garbage Patch Equilibrium Points

Theoretically, I agree that there should be one instable equilibrium point between the two stable equilibrium points when we have a 2D current field. However, there are some additional components of ...
daniel.heydebreck's user avatar
13 votes
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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?

I'm not sure how much I can comment about it, but here we go (that's a joke... maybe). Is it realistic in the collapse of the current system? Well kind of, but not in the timespan that is suggested. ...
BarocliniCplusplus's user avatar
8 votes

Thermohaline: Why is cold and dense seawater salty when warm water holds more dissolved salts?

Warm water does hold more salt - at saturation, but seawater isn't even close to saturation. Surface sea water gets warm, starts to evaporate (hence clouds) and therefore gets denser. So it sinks to ...
Gordon Stanger's user avatar
8 votes
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What is the weather data covering the range of 359 to 360 degree

Remember that 360° == 0°. They're the same line of longitude. So the gap between 359° and 0° is no more than the gap between 1° and 2°, and should be handled the same way.
Semidiurnal Simon's user avatar
7 votes

What is the (average) velocity of ocean currents?

This is not meant to be a comprehensive answer: Sometimes the easiest way to calculate the velocity of an ocean current is to take the published transport of the current and divide by the total depth ...
arkaia's user avatar
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7 votes
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How is the distribution of Argo floats managed over the Earth's oceans?

I think, there are two factors which prevent the forming of clusters of floats: The floats' lifespan. Batteries supposedly last for four years, then the floats become debris which sink to the bottom ...
Erik's user avatar
  • 756
7 votes

What goes into a tide power prediction for every fifteen minutes over the next twenty five years?

Tide prediction at some locale is more of an empirical art rather than an analytic science. It essentially is a reduction of decades or centuries of historical tide levels at the locale to Fourier-...
David Hammen's user avatar
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7 votes
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Does the California cyclone change the California current?

I'm certainly no oceanographer, but my initial thoughts were that most currents likely both vary and meander a lot. And I'd expect much like the semi-permanent atmospheric pressure systems, apart ...
JeopardyTempest's user avatar
6 votes
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ocean current frequency

Ocean currents can be described as flow oscillations that are forced at different frequencies. In the absence of any external forces (wind, friction), the resulting flow is the inertial motion, which ...
arkaia's user avatar
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6 votes
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What is the relationship between Ekman transport and Ekman pumping?

The link is the conservation of mass equation: $$ \frac{\partial u}{\partial x} + \frac{\partial v}{\partial y} + \frac{\partial w}{\partial z} = 0. $$ Briefly, Ekman pumping is the horizontal ...
jmunroe's user avatar
  • 76
6 votes

If a ship on its way to Germany from Norway sank, where will the survivors likely end up?

The survivors would probably end up in Jutland or Norway, maybe Sweden due to the currents. CC BY-SA 3.0 The main wind pattern is also western, but with prevailing eastern winds, they might end up ...
user2821's user avatar
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6 votes
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Indonesian Throughflow and currents map

The average conditions of the Indonesian Throughflow (ITF) are well-represented by the top figure. The transport varies significantly throughout the year. One main driver of the change in transport ...
arkaia's user avatar
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5 votes

Thermohaline current in North Atlantic

Complementary to the points about salinity emphasised by TomO and S Verhoef, one more point to emphasise is the role of deep ocean convection. You may have in mind this picture of water sinking ...
Michel Crucifix's user avatar
5 votes

If a prevailing wind traveled due east in the Northern Hemisphere, would the Coriolis Effect act on the water?

The Coriolis Effect occurs in all directions equally, even straight zonal (east-west) winds. Many indeed struggle with this idea - this Physics SE question has a fair explanation as to why. As ...
JeopardyTempest's user avatar
5 votes
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Difference in surface temperature between the Northwest Atlantic and Northeast Atlantic

The main reason is that the Gulf Stream transports warm surface water from the tropics, driven by the thermohaline circulation. The tropical trade winds push surface water towards Western Atlantic and ...
user2821's user avatar
  • 5,946
5 votes

Land's effect on winds and currents?

A few thoughts - assuming like you say that the aqua-planet is the same size as earth, and all else being equal, it's best to consider the two major classes of waves: Nondispersive wind generated ...
Z W's user avatar
  • 432
5 votes

Are there any types of winds or waves that are produced just by Earth's rotation?

Yes. Such a thing is called an inertial oscillation. Kelvin waves are not examples of inertial oscillations. Kelvin waves balance the earth's rotation against the normal force of a topographic ...
BarocliniCplusplus's user avatar
5 votes
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Are oceanic currents influenced by the Coriolis forces?

Yes, a major factor in ocean currents is the geostrophic balance, where Coriolis forces balance pressure gradient forces. In the northern hemisphere, Coriolis-driven currents flow clockwise around ...
damp_civil's user avatar
4 votes
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Land's effect on winds and currents?

They would come to equilibrium, or rather steady state, at which energy input ultimately from the Sun matches energy dissipation by friction. The wind speeds would be somewhat higher because water ...
Jack Denur's user avatar
4 votes

Why does wind blowing against a strong current create way bigger waves?

There are two physical processes at play here: Wind speed relative to the ocean surface Wave focusing and blocking in opposing current Wind speed relative to the ocean surface As you describe in ...
milancurcic's user avatar
  • 4,993
4 votes
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Depth of the wind-induced currents and the shoreline

First, a bit of background, following the Navier-Stokes equations and assuming steady state conditions, we can obtain a simplified balance known as Ekman balance for the boundary layer of the upper ...
arkaia's user avatar
  • 15.5k
4 votes

What goes into a tide power prediction for every fifteen minutes over the next twenty five years?

As another answer has stated, tides can broadly be predicted far ahead by harmonic analysis (which is similar to taking a fourier transform of the tidal signal, but only allowing frequencies that ...
Semidiurnal Simon's user avatar
4 votes
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How fast is the Gulf Stream near shore?

Along the eastern US coast, the Gulf Stream travels over broad, and shallow, continental shelf. On the western edge of this shelf, friction slows the Gulf Stream as does seasonally driven local ...
Knob Scratcher's user avatar
3 votes
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What mechanism is used to measure ocean currents from cables?

From Prandle 19791: The flow of water across the vertical component of the Earth's magnetic field induces a potential gradient in the water; measurements of the difference in voltage between the ...
Semidiurnal Simon's user avatar
3 votes

What mechanism is used to measure ocean currents from cables?

The most likely explanation is that a device similar to a hot wire anemometer has been used; but one that has been designed to be used in oceans. A hot wire anemometer is basically an electric ...
Fred's user avatar
  • 24.7k
3 votes
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Guinea Current existence in the Atlantic

The Guinea Current is in geostrophic balance with isopycnals sloping upwards towards the north. The current is not directly related to wind direction and magnitude and that makes rather especial. As ...
arkaia's user avatar
  • 15.5k
3 votes

If a ship on its way to Germany from Norway sank, where will the survivors likely end up?

This may or may not be as relevant to your question, and this isn't really an Earth Science answer, but there is quite a bit of historical information about people surviving sinking ships between ...
kingledion's user avatar
  • 3,376

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