Saturday, 7 November 2009

ocean conveyor belt? what on earth is that?

  • the great ocean conveyor belt is the earth’s circulatory system. it is the driving force behind global weather patterns, which as a result, all life is sustained
  • through heat and moisture exchanges, the conveyor warms the air in upper latitudes while delivering fresh water across the globe
  • the conveyor belt generates power comparable to one million nuclear power plants
  • one cycle of the great ocean conveyor belt takes about 1000 years
  • without the great ocean conveyor belt, some scientists believe that the northern hemispheres would plunge into a mini ice age. This last occurred 13,000 years ago

global ocean surface currents

because earth is round, it is heated unevenly by sunlight

the equator is much hotter than the poles because light from the sun strikes earth more directly at the equator at higher latitudes the sun’s energy striking earth is spread over a larger area

solar heating is one element or subsystem of the global system

thermohaline circulation or meridional overturning circulation is another terms for ocean conveyor belt

the most dramatic ways in which we experience Earth's climate - monsoons, drought, cold snaps, and storms - come from the sky. but climate is as much a product of the sea as the sky: whatever happens to one affects the other i.e. fishermen & sports fishing

the global oceanic conveyor belt
  • at the equator, the sun warms surface waters and triggers evaporation. as water evaporates, the tropical waters get saltier
  • the warm, salty water is carried northward along the east coast of the united States by the gulf stream, a tributary of the conveyor, and then over towards europe
  • as it travels, this current releases a huge amount of heat to the atmosphere in the north atlantic
  • as this great volume of water becomes colder and denser, it plunges downward to the ocean depths (salty, cold water is denser than fresher, warm water)
  • as cold, salty water sinks in the north atlantic, it pulls warm, salty tropical waters northward to replace the sinking colder waters
  • this massive plunge of water drives the ocean's "conveyor belt," sending deep currents traveling along the ocean bottom to surface elsewhere around the world. eventually these currents resurface in the atlantic

game on! lets fish..

credits: flickr/ / / sources


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