The ocean and atmosphere currents are closely linked. Image courtesy of JMVerco/Flickr.

Coriolis Effect: occurs due to Earth's rotation; causes objects to move in a curved path rather than a straight line.

El Niño: a climate phenomenon that influneces sea surface temperatures and ocean currents

Gyres: ocean currents with nearly circular patterns of movement

Gulf Stream: makes up the western edge of the North Atlantic Gyre, it is a swift, warm current that travels along the east coast of the United States and across the North Atlantic Ocean.

Intertropical Convergence Zone: located where the northern and southern trade winds meet at the equator, characterized by stormy weather

Jet Streaks:
fastest winds within a jet stream

Jet Streams: fastest winds which occur at high altitudes where pressure differences are greatest

Polar Easterlies: global wind system located near the poles, starting at 60º N and S latitudes and extending poleward.

Polar Front Jet Stream: a high-speed band of wind traveling at up to 400 kilometers per hour (249 miles per hour) that encircles Earth at altitudes of 10-15 kilometers (6-9 miles)

Prevailing Westerlies: global wind systems located in the northern and southern hemispheres in a zone between 30-60ºN and S latitude.

Subpolar Low: zone of low pressure located between the polar easterlies and prevailing westerlies

Subtropical High: high pressure zone associated with the trade winds at 30º N and 30º S latitude.

Trade Winds: global wind system located between 30º N and 30º S latitudes.

Last modified: Thursday, 9 December 2010, 12:32 PM