what causes the ekman spiral

What Causes The Ekman Spiral?

The Ekman spiral, named after Swedish scientist Vagn Walfrid Ekman (1874-1954) who first theorized it in 1902, is a consequence of the Coriolis effect. … As a result, each successively deeper layer of water moves more slowly to the right or left, creating a spiral effect.The Ekman spiral, named after Swedish scientist Vagn Walfrid Ekman (1874-1954) who first theorized it in 1902, is a consequence of the Coriolis effect

Coriolis effect

The Coriolis force acts in a direction perpendicular to the rotation axis and to the velocity of the body in the rotating frame and is proportional to the object’s speed in the rotating frame (more precisely, to the component of its velocity that is perpendicular to the axis of rotation).

What causes Ekman transport?

Ekman transport occurs when ocean surface waters are influenced by the friction force acting on them via the wind. As the wind blows it casts a friction force on the ocean surface that drags the upper 10-100m of the water column with it.

What are two factors that are needed for the Ekman spiral to occur?

The Ekman spiral is caused by: the wind and the Coriolis effect.

What does the Ekman spiral create?

1 The Ekman spiral, shown for the Northern Hemisphere. Wind blowing over the water (blue arrow) creates a surface current 45o offset from the wind. Each successive layer of water is moved and deflected by the layer above, creating a spiraling pattern of water movement that diminishes with depth.

What is the Ekman spiral quizlet?

Ekman spiral: Wind creates a surface current that spirals in a clockwise direction as depth decreases, flowing in the opposite direction of the wind at about 100m depth. ( spiral is in the opposite direction in the southern hemisphere)

Where does Ekman divergence occur?

Coastal Upwelling

In the northern hemisphere, Ekman divergence occurs when the wind blows parallel to a coastline on its left. For example, during spring and summer the mean winds along the west coast of North America are southward. Associated with these winds is a net westward Ekman transport.

What is the Ekman flow?

Ek·man flow

(ĕk′mən) Current flow in one layer of a fluid brought about by current flow in an adjacent layer, as when surface ocean currents caused by wind themselves cause current flow deeper in the ocean. Also called Ekman transport. [After Vagn Walfrid Ekman (1874-1954), Swedish oceanographer.]

What causes equatorial upwelling?

Upwelling is a result of winds and the rotation of the Earth. The Earth rotates on its axis from west to east. … The Coriolis effect also causes upwelling in the open ocean near the Equator. Trade winds at the Equator blow surface water both north and south, allowing upwelling of deeper water.

What are Ekman and geostrophic balances?

Driven by the long-term average winds in the subtropical highs, Ekman transport causes surface waters to move toward the central region of a subtropical gyre. … The horizontal movement of surface water arising from a balance between the pressure gradient force and the Coriolis force is known as geostrophic flow.

What causes Western intensification quizlet?

salinity and gravity. Western intensification causes: a steeper slope of surface water in the western section of the gyre as compared to the eastern section of the gyre. very swift western boundary currents.

What causes deep water circulation?

These deep-ocean currents are driven by differences in the water’s density, which is controlled by temperature (thermo) and salinity (haline). This process is known as thermohaline circulation. … Surface water is pulled in to replace the sinking water, which in turn eventually becomes cold and salty enough to sink.

How are the Coriolis effect and the Ekman transport related?

The Ekman spiral is a consequence of the coriolis effect. When the surface water moves by the wind, they drag the deeper layers with them. Each layer of water is moved by friction from the shallower layer and each deeper layer moves more slowly than the layer above it. … This creates a spiral called the Ekman spiral.

How are gyres formed?

An ocean gyre is a large system of circular ocean currents formed by global wind patterns and forces created by Earth’s rotation. The movement of the world’s major ocean gyres helps drive the “ocean conveyor belt.” The ocean conveyor belt circulates ocean water around the entire planet.

What is the caused of the Ekman spiral quizlet?

Ekman Spiral Is Caused By. Surface Ocean Currents. Salinity And Temperature.

What are the layers of water referred to in an Ekman spiral?

Ekman layer, a vertical region of the ocean affected by the movement of wind-driven surface waters. This layer, named for the Swedish oceanographer V. Walfrid Ekman, extends to a depth of about 100 metres (about 300 feet). … This phenomenon is called Ekman transport, and its effects are widely observed in the oceans.

What is the difference between the Ekman spiral and Ekman transport?

The impact of the Ekman Spiral is enhanced where geographic features create barriers to the movement of water. Ekman transport is the net motion of a fluid (seawater) as the result of a balance between the Coriolis effect and turbulent drag forces (within surface waters and geographic features (shoreline and seabed).

What is the Ekman spiral and what is its cause?

The Ekman spiral, named after Swedish scientist Vagn Walfrid Ekman (1874-1954) who first theorized it in 1902, is a consequence of the Coriolis effect. … As a result, each successively deeper layer of water moves more slowly to the right or left, creating a spiral effect.

How does Ekman transport affect upwelling?

In the Northern Hemisphere, upwelling occurs on west coasts when winds are blowing north to south. Ekman transport and the Coriolis Effect make the coastal waters move, on average, 90 degrees to the wind. … This, in turn, pulls deep water up to the surface to replace the original surface water.

What is the main of cause of downwelling?

Question. What causes downwelling? Downwelling occurs when the water on the surface of the sea becomes denser than the water beneath it and so it sinks. Seawater gets denser when it gets colder or saltier.

What happens when Ekman transports converge?

Convergence results in downwelling of water out of the Ekman layer. … Equatorial upwelling due to Ekman transport results from the westward wind stress (trade winds). These cause northward Ekman transport north of the equator and southward Ekman transport south of the equator.

Where are the trade winds?

The trade winds can be found about 30 degrees north and south of the equator. Right at the equator there is almost no wind at all—an area sometimes called the doldrums.

What causes equatorial upwelling quizlet?

Equatorial upwelling is the process where trade winds at the Equator blow surface water both north and south, allowing upwelling of deeper water.

What causes El Nino?

El Niño occurs when warm water builds up along the equator in the eastern Pacific. The warm ocean surface warms the atmosphere, which allows moisture-rich air to rise and develop into rainstorms.

Which event typically causes upwelling?

Answer: Wind blowing parallel to the shore causes upwelling of cool water. Thermohaline circulation is mainly due to winds causing circulation of ocean water warmer, less dense water sinking in the ocean and cold water replacing it.

What causes geostrophic currents?

This occurs because the Earth is rotating. The rotation of the earth results in a “force” being felt by the water moving from the high to the low, known as Coriolis force. The Coriolis force acts at right angles to the flow, and when it balances the pressure gradient force, the resulting flow is known as geostrophic.

What is Ekman pumping?

The mechanism by which the effects of boundary layer momentum fluxes are communicated directly to the neighboring (essentially inviscid) fluid. The mechanism involves a forced secondary circulation referred to as Ekman pumping or Ekman suction, depending on its sign.

How much is a Sverdrup?

In oceanography, the sverdrup (symbol: Sv) is a non-SI metric unit of flow, with 1 Sv equal to 1 million cubic metres per second (260,000,000 US gal/s); it is equivalent to the SI derived unit cubic hectometer per second (symbol: hm3/s or hm3⋅s1).

What causes Western intensification?

Western intensification causes: -Steeper slope of surface water in the section of the gyre as compared to the eastern section of the gyre. … –The center of the gyre to be shift to the west.

What causes western boundary currents?

The rotation of the earth causes an accumulation of energy on the western side, which has to be dissipated in boundary currents; this gives the western boundary currents typical widths of 100 km and typical speeds of 2 m s1 and causes them to shed eddies frequently to increase the dissipation of energy.

What is true Ekman transport?

Ekman transport is to the right of the wind direction in the Northern Hemisphere. The Coriolis effect causes surface waters to move at an angle relative to the wind direction. … In the deeper layers of the Ekman spiral, water can move in a direction opposite of the wind direction.

What would cause thermohaline circulation to stop?

The thermohaline circulation is driven by differences in seawater density, caused by temperature and salinity. … “The additional fresh water made the ocean surface less dense and it stopped sinking, effectively shutting down the thermohaline circulation,” Schlesinger said.

Why is the ocean cold?

Cold, salty water is dense and sinks to the bottom of the ocean while warm water is less dense and remains on the surface. … Water gets colder with depth because cold, salty ocean water sinks to the bottom of the ocean basins below the less dense warmer water near the surface.

Why are the Great Salt Lake and the Dead Sea so salty?

The Great Salt Lake, Dead Sea, and other salt lakes have no outlets. All the water that flows into these lakes escapes only by evaporation. When water evaporates, the dissolved salts are left behind. … The same process made the seas salty.

How does Ekman cause downwelling?


what causes the ekman spiral



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