Ocean Circulation Date:
1. Thermal energy is transferred throughout the hydrosphere
2. THERMOHALINE CIRCULATION- the continuous flow of water around the world’s oceans driven by differences in
water temperatures (“thermo”) and salinity (“haline”):
1. Poles, salty (ice rejects salt and water freezes as freshwater, so remaining water is saltier) + cold = dense water that
2. Equator, less salty + warm = less dense water flows to poles to replace
3. Acts like an enormous conveyor belt
3. OCEAN CURRENT- water movement over great distances due to thermohaline circulation, winds, breaking waves,
Coriolis force, and TIDES (gravitational pull of the Moon and Sun)
4. Ocean current direction and strength are influenced by depth contours, shoreline configurations, and interaction with
other ocean currents
5. Ocean currents play a dominant part in determining climate zones, ex. Gulf Stream makes northwest Europe much
more temperate than any other region at the same latitude
1. a) Use a map of thermohaline circulation to identify an area in the world that is likely to have a warm, damp climate
due to ocean currents.
b) Use a map of thermohaline circulation to identify a region that is likely to have a cold, dry, climate due to ocean
2. Draw a diagram to show the movement of cold and warm water in the hydrosphere around the equator.
3. Define a “thermohaline”.
4. Earth’s thermohaline circulation is like an “enormous conveyor belt.” What is being moved on this “global conveyor
belt” that affects Earth’s climate?
5. How are convection currents in the oceans formed?
6. Why are coastal cities attractive to many people seeking a moderate climate?
7. A large island, surrounded by ocean, has two cities at the same latitude. One city is situated on the west coast and
the other on the east coast. Cold ocean currents travel along the west coast of the island, and warm ocean currents
travel along the east coast. Predict which city would have a warmer average annual temperature. Explain your