Lesson Summary

lesson summary
Atmospheric and oceanic currents are responsible for distributing heat and affect Earth's climate. Photo courtesy of Vagabond Shutterbug/Flickr.

This week you learned about the interactions between Earth's atmosphere and oceans. You discovered there is a close connection that exists between the two, and how they both influence Earth's climate. You were introduced to our planet's global wind systems, as well as its surface and deep ocean currents. You learned why the wind and ocean currents rarely travel in a straight line. You also learned that convection currents in both the atmosphere and ocean are responsible for circulating the sun's heat and energy throughout our planet.
  • The Coriolis Effect is responsible for creating circular patterns in Earth's atmospheric and ocean currents. It is caused by the rotation of our planet.
  • Atmospheric and oceanic currents are responsible for circulating the sun's heat around our planet.
  • The Coriolis Effect establishes several global wind systems - the polar easterlies, prevailing westerlies, and trade winds
  • The jet streams are fast moving winds that are located at high altitude, where pressure differences are greatest. The jet stream is located at the top of the troposphere, near the tropopause
  • Atmospheric and oceanic currents are closely linked, and affect Earth's climate
  • Ocean current circulation is a function of temperature and salinity differences, which cause density differences in sea water
  • El Niño affects atmospheric and sea surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean. This leads to changes in the climate and weather

Last modified: Thursday, 28 April 2011, 8:48 AM