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Oceanography AMS E - investigations

Investigation 6A 

1. While viewing the first portion of the video from your vantage point far above the equator, imagine seeing an object on Earth?s surface directly under you. Watch the object move with the rotating Earth. It shows that as the object moves, its path _________ 

2. From this vantage point above the North Pole, all points on Earth?s visible surface (except at the North Pole) follow curved paths concentric to the North Pole as Earth rotates. The sense of Earth?s rotation from this vantage point is ________

3. As viewed from above the South Pole, all points on Earth?s visible surface (except at the pole) show curved motion concentric to the South Pole due to Earth?s rotation, and the sense of Earth?s rotation from this vantage point is _______

4. In the Northern Hemisphere, where the sense of planetary rotation is counterclockwise as seen from above, objects moving freely across Earth?s surface will, when their motion is measured relative to Earth?s surface, appear to be pulled to the right. In the Southern Hemisphere, where the sense of Earth?s rotation is clockwise as seen from above, objects moving across Earth?s surface will appear to be pulled in the opposite direction, to the ________. The deflection of the moving objects when they are viewed in such a rotating frame of reference is called the Coriolis Effect

5. Evidence of the Coriolis Effect at play is the circulation of subtropical anticyclones (Hs) that exhibit different circulation patterns around their centers of high pressure in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres. As seen in Figure 1, the Northern Hemisphere high-pressure systems exhibit ________ motion as seen from above while those in the Southern Hemisphere turn in the opposite direction.

6. Run the animation. Note that over a year there is considerable variation in wind patterns, but broad-scale patterns persist. Look for similarities between the animation and Figure 1. Both show that the observed surface wind circulation in the North Atlantic Ocean animation and in Figure 1 Northern Hemisphere subtropical anitcyclones (Hs) are generally ________ as seen from above.

7. In the animation, black arrows first appear that approximate the average surface wind flow in the North Atlantic Ocean basin based on actual wind observations. The winds over the North Atlantic Ocean basin exhibit a clockwise circulation as seen from above with its center in the ________ portion of the basin

8. Blue arrows then appear to appear to represent the wind-generated Ekman transport. The direction of the Ekman transport changes as the averaged wind direction changes across the ocean basin to produce a convergence of water and the ________ of the water surface.

9. Contour lines are added to approximate the configuration of the water mound. The mound is depicted as highest in the ________ portion of the basin. This shape is a common characteristic of the large sub-tropical gyres of the world ocean.

10. Focus on the light blue parcel of water initially near the center of the mound that is being put into motion down the sloping water surface by the pressure gradient force shown by a thin blue arrow. As soon as the water parcel starts moving, a Coriolis force (green arrow) arises to account for the effect of Earth?s rotation and begins to deflect the parcel to the ________ of its direction of movement

11. The water parcel speeds up as it flows down the sloping surface, so the Coriolis force strengthens while always acting at a right angle to the right of the direction of movement. As seen in the animation, this causes the parcel to turn further to the right. Throughout, the pressure gradient force always remains oriented directly downhill and perpendicular to the contour lines. In the second position of the water parcel, the thick white arrow that appears shows the direction of motion. In the global view, this causes the light blue water parcel to turn more towards the _______

12. The parcel will continue to speed up, causing the Coriolis force to increase. This increase will result in the parcel turning more rightward until it arrives at its third position. There, the Coriolis force has increased until it is equal in magnitude and acting in the direction opposite to the pressure gradient force. From the time onward after the two forces balance one another, the animation shows that the water will be flowing (as denoted by the orientation of the motion arrow head) ________ the contour lines.

13. The animation shows that the paths of water parcels initially flowing downhill from the central region of the mound turn to reveal an overall ________ circulation as seen from above

14. Because the contour lines in the western portion of the dome of water are more closely spaced than elsewhere in the dome, it can be assumed that is where the ________ pressure gradient forces exist. This will result in the fastest ocean currents compared to elsewhere around the dome. 

15. This animation ends by displaying actual ocean surface circulation and currents based on actual observational data. Note the Florida Current/Gulf Stream system that extends from near the southern tip of Florida to Cape Hatteras, NC, and beyond. Its position and flow ________ consistent with the description of the North Atlantic gyre examined in this investigation

16. This animation shows that the Coriolis Effect plays an essential role in the formation and maintenance of the North Atlantic Subtropical Gyre. The Coriolis Effect plays a similar role in the formation and maintenance of subtropical gyres in the Southern Hemisphere. There, the apparent Coriolis force arising from the Coriolis Effect acts 90° to the left of the direction of motion and produces subtropical ocean gyres that circulate ________ as seen from above


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