Name ____________________________________
Bell ____
Date __________
Ocean Currents Webquest
Part 1: Oceans Introduction http://www.enchantedlearning.com/subjects/ocean/
Oceans cover about _________% of the Earth’s surface. The oceans contain roughly
________% of the Earth’s water supply.
Name the Earth’s five main oceans and the square miles of each:
a. ___________________
___________________
b. ___________________
___________________
c. ___________________
___________________
d. Southern
_________________ (delimited or recognized in year_________)
e. ___________________
___________________
Part 2: Ocean Currents
http://www.ducksters.com/science/earth_science/ocean_waves_and_currents.php
An ocean current is a ______________ flow of water in the ocean. Some currents are
surface currents while other currents are much deeper flowing hundreds of feet
below the surface of the water. Surface currents are usually caused by the _________.
As the wind changes, the current may change as well. Currents are also influenced by
the rotation of the Earth called the ___________ effect. This causes currents to flow
___________ in the northern hemisphere and _____________________ in the southern
hemisphere. Deep ocean currents are caused by a number of things including changes
in the _____________, salinity (how ________ the water is), and __________ of the water.
One other factor impacting ocean currents is the gravitational pull of the Moon and
the Sun.
Ocean currents can have a significant impact on __________. In some areas warm water
is moved from the equator to a colder region causing the region to be ____________.
One example of this is the ____________ current. It pulls warm water from the equator
to the coast of Western Europe. As a result, areas such as the United Kingdom are
typically much __________ than areas at the same northern latitude in North America.
Part 3: Coriolis Effect
http://www.kidsgeo.com/geography-for-kids/0089-coriolis-effect.php
The rotation of the Earth causes an interesting phenomena on free moving objects on
the Earth. Objects in the Northern Hemisphere are deflected to the _______________,
while objects in the Southern Hemisphere are deflected to the ________________.
http://www.classzone.com/books/earth_science/terc/content/visualizations/es1904/es1
904page01.cfm?chapter_no=visualization
In the 1st animation: The target location in the Northern Hemisphere where the plane
was headed when it took off has moved with the Earth’s rotation, so the plane would
end up to the ______________ of its original target.
In the 2nd animation: The target location in the Southern Hemisphere where the plane
was headed when it took off has moved with Earth's rotation, so the plane would end
up to the ____________________ of its original target.
Part 4: Upwelling
http://www.classzone.com/books/earth_science/terc/content/visualizations/es2405/es2
405page01.cfm?chapter_no=visualization
In this animation, winds blowing along the coast push the coastal surface water. When
combined with the ______________________ _________________, this motion moves
surface water away from the coast. As surface water moves outward, cold, planktonrich water from the ocean bottom moves toward the coast and ______________________
to replace the displaced surface water.
Part 5: Wave Motion
http://www.classzone.com/books/earth_science/terc/content/visualizations/es1604/es1
604page01.cfm?chapter_no=visualization
When wave _____________________________ passes through water, the water moves in a
_________________________ motion. Energy is passing from left to right in this animation,
but the water itself stays in the _____________________ general location.
Part 6: Ocean Currents and Global Wind
http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/education/pd/oceans_weather_climate/media/ocean_and
_wind_currents.swf
To show the ocean currents and global wind patterns on Earth, click on the buttons
at the bottom of the page. To see both at the same time, click on “Both Currents”.
Use your observations to answer the following questions.
1. Name two observations you can make when looking at the ocean and wind
currents.
______________________________________________________________________________
____________________________________________
2. Look at the direction of the surface currents in the oceans and at the
direction of the wind. What evidence do you find that wind influences the
direction of the surface currents in the oceans?
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
__________
3. Notice the location and flow of warm (red) and cold (blue) ocean currents. Why
do you suppose that currents flowing toward the equator are generally cool
while currents flowing away from the equator are warm?
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
______________________________________________________________________________
__________
Ocean Currents Webquest- Answer Key
Part 1: Oceans Introduction
Oceans Cover about 70% of the Earth’s surface. The oceans contain roughly
97% of the Earth’s water supply.
Name the Earth’s five main oceans and the square miles of each:
a. Pacific- 63,780,000 sq mi
b. Atlantic- 41,080,000 sq mi
c. Indian- 28,400,000 sq mi
d. Southern- 7,848,000 sq mi (delimited or recognized in year 2000)
e. Arctic- 5,400,000 sq mi
Part 2: Ocean Currents Introduction
An ocean current is a continuous flow of water in the ocean. Some currents are
surface currents while other currents are much deeper flowing hundreds of feet
below the surface of the water. Surface currents are usually caused by the wind. As
the wind changes, the current may change as well. Currents are also influenced by the
rotation of the Earth called the Coriolis effect. This causes currents to flow
clockwise in the northern hemisphere and counterclockwise in the southern
hemisphere. Deep ocean currents are caused by a number of things including changes
in the temperature, salinity (how salty the water is), and density of the water. One
other factor impacting ocean currents is the gravitational pull of the Moon and the
Sun.
Ocean currents can have a significant impact on climate. In some areas warm water is
moved from the equator to a colder region causing the region to be warmer. One
example of this is the Gulfstream current. It pulls warm water from the equator to
the coast of Western Europe. As a result, areas such as the United Kingdom are
typically much warmer than areas at the same northern latitude in North America.
Part 3: Coriolis Effect
The rotation of the Earth causes an interesting phenomena on free moving objects on
the Earth. Objects in the Northern Hemisphere are deflected to the right, while
objects in the Southern Hemisphere are deflected to the left.
In the 1st animation: The target location in the Northern Hemisphere where the plane
was headed when it took off has moved with the Earth’s rotation, so the plane would
end up to the right of its original target.
In the 2nd animation: The target location in the Southern Hemisphere where the plane
was headed when it took off has moved with Earth's rotation, so the plane would end
up to the left of its original target.
Part 4: Upwelling
In this animation, winds blowing along the coast push the coastal surface water. When
combined with the Coriolis Effect, this motion moves surface water away from the
coast. As surface water moves outward, cold, plankton-rich water from the ocean
bottom moves toward the coast and rises to replace the displaced surface water.
Part 5: Wave Motion
When wave energy passes through water, the water moves in a circular motion. Energy
is passing from left to right in this animation, but the water itself stays in the same
general location.
Part 6: Ocean Currents and Global Wind
To show the ocean currents and global wind patterns on Earth, click on the buttons
at the bottom of the page. To see both at the same time, click on “Both Currents”.
Use your observations to answer the following questions.
1. Name two observations you can make when looking at the ocean and wind currents.
Currents- the blue are heading south and the red are heading north
Wind- blue going right and red going left
2. Look at the direction of the surface currents in the oceans and at the direction of the
wind. What evidence do you find that wind influences the direction of the surface
currents in the oceans?
Generally, wind currents and ocean currents go in the same direction.
Specifically, in the Pacific ocean off the coast of South America, there are
both easterly winds and westerly winds and the currents in that area look like
whirlpool (circle).
3. Notice the location and flow of warm (red) and cold (blue) ocean currents. Why do you
suppose that currents flowing toward the equator are generally cool while currents
flowing away from the equator are warm?
The cold (blue) currents, are going toward they equator because they are
bringing the cold water from the poles to be heated up. The warm (red)
currents are going away from the equator because they are taking warm water
to the poles, which keep the oceans near the poles from freezing.
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Ocean Currents Web quest

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