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The Arctic Ocean

Currents

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Currents in the Arctic Ocean

         Currents are the circulation system of the Arctic Ocean. Gravity, wind, and forces that are linked to the earth’s rotation, control the movement of the water currents. The forces of the earth’s rotation cause the Northern Hemisphere to go clockwise and the Southern Hemisphere to go counter clockwise. 

Temperature has a big effect on the density of the water because the water expands and it becomes less dense when the water gets warm. This causes water to rise to the surface.

          The water evaporates quickly in warm weather, therefore making the ocean very salty. This is because the ocean is mostly made up of salty water and when the water gets evaporated it leaves the salt behind and it increases the amount of salt in the ocean since there is less water. The increase in salt also makes the water denser.

          All of this then causes the rising of colder waters. They then also become warmer like they once did before and the cycle keeps continuing.

          The surface waters of the Arctic Ocean circulate in a clockwise rotational pattern, and moves from east to west around the polar ice cap. This rotating pattern is known as gyre.

Surface waters are exchanged by ocean currents. There is a lack of movement in the deep waters of the Arctic Ocean because the deep waters have caused a non-moving area of freezing water.

 

The Arctic Ocean Currents and Climates:

          The Arctic Ocean is always losing heat but at the same times always exchanging heat. The Arctic Ocean brings in warm water from the Atlantic Ocean and cold water from the currents traveling southward.

 

Main Currents:

The Beaufort Grye is a main current in the Arctic Ocean. It swirls the surface waters of the Arctic basin and it also turns the Polar Ice Cap at the same time. The Beaufort Grye makes a full rotation in around every four years.

Another main current in the Arctic Ocean is the Transpolar Drift Stream. It carries ice and water from Siberia. The current then carries the ice and water across the pole and down the east side of Greenland. It then joins the East Greenland Current.

The Berentis Gyre, the Labrador Current, and the West Greenland Current are the other three main currents.

 

The Inflow and the Outflow of the Arctic Ocean

The inflow of the Arctic Ocean enters through many entrances but the main entrances are the Mackenzie River, the Ob Yenisey, and the Lena Rivers. 60% of the inflow to the Arctic Ocean is brought in by the North Atlantic Current. The Bering Sea and the Pacific Ocean also moves inflow into the Arctic Ocean.

The Out flow of the ocean exits into the Pacific Ocean, the Atlantic Oceans, and a few seas that surround the ocean. The Greenland and Spitsbergen passage is where most of the water exits out of the Arctic Ocean.

 

The names of all the currents in the Arctic Ocean are:

• West Alaska C.                                             • East Novozenal C.

• Navarin C.                                                     • East Spitz-bergen C.

• Olyutorskiy C.                                               • West Spitz-bergen C.

Yukon C.                                                        Bear Island C.

Anadyr C.                                                      • Murman C.

• Alaskan Coastal C.                                         • Murmal Coastal C.                         

• Beaufort Grye                                               North Cape C.

Lena C.                                                           • Puchora C.

• New Siberian C.                                              • East Greenland C.

• East Taimyr C.                                                • Jan Mayen C.

• Transpolar Drift                                             • Norwegian Coastal C.

• West Taimyr C.                                               • East Icelandic C.

Ob Yenisey C.                                                   • Irminger C.

• Saint Anne C.                                                   Labrador C.

• Porsey C.                                                          • West Greenland C.

• Yamal C.                                                           Baffin C.

 

Last Updated February 10th 2005