Ocean Currents

Open ocean current systems are driven by the latitudinal distribution of the winds and have a clockwise circulation in the northern hemisphere and a counter-clockwise circulation in the southern hemisphere. Such wind-driven currents operate at shallow depths (<800 m). Ocean surface currents, such as the Gulf Stream, are more constant and continuous flows than tidal currents.

Although surface ocean currents are subject to seasonal variations and currents do move geographically, these currents are generally considered to provide potentially stable, long-term power production, i.e., baseload electricity.

Deeper ocean current systems result from thermal and salinity gradients, which produce slow-moving and deeper currents. Such currents are part of the thermohaline convection system, a global system of density-driven currents that transfer warm water from equatorial regions to the poles and return cold water from the poles to the equator (Fig. 26.3). Operational ocean forecast systems can be used to predict the distribution and variability of these current systems (Dombrowsky et al. 2009).

Fig. 26.3 Major surface ocean currents. (NOAA 2008)

Fig. 26.3 Major surface ocean currents. (NOAA 2008)

Was this article helpful?

0 0
Guide to Alternative Fuels

Guide to Alternative Fuels

Your Alternative Fuel Solution for Saving Money, Reducing Oil Dependency, and Helping the Planet. Ethanol is an alternative to gasoline. The use of ethanol has been demonstrated to reduce greenhouse emissions slightly as compared to gasoline. Through this ebook, you are going to learn what you will need to know why choosing an alternative fuel may benefit you and your future.

Get My Free Ebook


Post a comment