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Further Investigations: Ocean Surface Currents

  1. Describe how each of the following affects current formation:
    1. prevailing wind
    2. the rotation of the earth
    3. the boundaries of the continents
    4. other currents or gyres
       
  2. Research how satellite studies of the ocean reveal small-scale currents in coastal waters.
     
  3. Investigate the relationship between currents and the richness of fishing grounds.
     
  4. Investigate how wind-generated currents are similar to wind waves, and how they are different.
     
  5. Imagine you were going to pilot a ship from your nearest port around the world. How would you make use of wind and surface currents to aid your trip? Plot your route. On which segments of your trip do you think you will travel fastest? On which segments do you think you will travel slowest?
     
  6. Examine gyre formation. Match the prevailing winds in each large ocean basin gyre to the ocean currents they form.
     
  7. Examine maps to show how shipping routes are related to currents and gyres. Compare the routes of great ocean explorers with maps of currents and gyres.
     
  8. Research how the North Atlantic ocean basin gyre affects the Sargasso Sea.

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Exploring Our Fluid Earth, a product of the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG), College of Education. University of Hawaii, 2011. This document may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-profit educational purposes.