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How does the wind cause surface currents in the ocean?

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missranger4125 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted March 2, 2012 at 12:40 AM via web

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How does the wind cause surface currents in the ocean?

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bandmanjoe | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Senior Educator

Posted March 2, 2012 at 2:32 AM (Answer #1)

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Surface currents are movements in ocean water that are at the surface, extending to depths of about fifty to sixty feet.  The global winds that blow in different directions across the Earth can influence and create surface currents in the oceans by setting the surface waters into motion.  This is similar to what you do in the morning if you get a cup of coffee that is too hot to drink.  You blow lightly across the surface of the coffee in an attempt to cool it off, and cause all kinds of ripples and microcurrents at the surface of the coffee in the cup.  What occurs in the oceans is the same thing, just on a larger scale.  Surface currents are invaluable tools to sailors trying to navigate the oceans and seas, if they know what direction the currents are traveling, they can hitch a ride with them and save fuel.  Surface currents are also good for the fishing industry, as fish like to travel within the current's direction, as well.

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