Relationship between ocean currents and heat exchange

Currents and Heat Transfer

relationship between ocean currents and heat exchange

quantity of energy transported by ocean currents is very . as a small ( percentage) difference between heat that the heat exchange between the oceans due. CLIMATE AND THE OCEAN CIRCULATION: II. THE ATMOSPHERIC CIRCULATION AND THE EFFECT OF HEAT TRANSFER BY OCEAN CURRENTS. The oceans of the earth transfer heat from one location to another via massive ocean currents. These currents are like rivers flowing across the vastness of Earth.

The oceans can hold much more heat than the atmosphere. Just the top 3.

relationship between ocean currents and heat exchange

This large heat capacity acts to buffer temperature changes in the atmosphere, while ocean circulation redistributes heat around the globe and influences regional climates. Energy used in evaporation of water from the ocean also represents a major influence on the earth's heat balance. The ocean temperature, however, is not in equilibrium with the atmosphere because of the long time-scales involved in many oceanic processes, such as the large-scale overturning of the deep ocean which takes thousands of years.

Water carried from the surface to the deep ocean is isolated from atmospheric influence.

Ocean–atmosphere heat exchange – Parliament of Australia

This means that exchange of heat between the atmosphere and oceans, and redistribution of heat within the oceans, may occur over a thousand years or more. Hence the oceans represent a major heat sink, and can influence the rate of climate change by moderating the rate of warming of the atmosphere.

The oceans are currently absorbing about one quarter of the CO2 that is being emitted to the atmosphere through human activities, thereby representing an important greenhouse gas sink.

This uptake of CO2, however, is causing ocean acidificationand the rate of CO2 absorption by the oceans will slow with time as the uptake mechanism becomes limited under higher CO2 concentrations.

Our Oceans Transfer Heat - Geography for Kids

There is evidence that the salinity of the ocean is changing as a manifestation of climate change producing changes in precipitation, evaporation, river runoff and ice melt. The changes in density arising from this are likely to induce changes in ocean circulation patterns, with projections suggesting that the thermohaline circulation will be slowed.

This will have implications for future heat transfer between the atmosphere and oceans. Ocean currents flowing away from the equator are called warm currents. The water in these currents is not necessarily warm, but it's warm compared to what you would expect for that latitude. The Gulf Stream is a good example of a warm current.

relationship between ocean currents and heat exchange

If a current flows towards the equator it is a cold current, for example the Canaries current. The video below examines if the movement of sea water can affect the climate.

relationship between ocean currents and heat exchange

These patterns can be explained by a number of factors: The prevailing winds on the surface create friction with the surface water, setting up the ocean currents.

The huge size of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans allows these patterns to form.

Redistributing Earth's Heat, Wind, & Currents

Ocean currents don't flow due north or due south because of the Coriolis force caused by the Earth's rotation. This deflects the currents to the right in the Northern Hemisphere and to the left in the Southern Hemisphere. Uneven heating produces density differences in the oceans.

relationship between ocean currents and heat exchange

Cold dense polar water sinks, then spreads towards the equator where it pushes up the less dense warmer water which moves off towards the polar areas.