2.3.4 Thermohaline Circulation and Climate

Course week(s) Week 2
Course subject(s) Water Systems

In the video below you will learn about Thermohaline circulation and climate.

Study Goals

After this lecture you will be able to understand:

  • The importance of the ocean in the water cycle
  • The role of wind in driving sea surface circulations
  • The role of the ocean as a driving force for weather and climate
  • The role of coriolis on the ocean

Optional video: A Driving Force for Weather and Climate

For more information on the coriolis effect a link to another video is provided.

Description of the video:

The Ocean is essential to life on Earth. Most of Earth’s water is stored in the ocean. Although 40 percent of Earth’s population lives within, or near coastal regions- the ocean impacts people everywhere. Without the ocean, our planet would be uninhabitable. This animation helps to convey the importance of Earth’s oceanic processes as one component of Earth’s interrelated systems.

This animation uses Earth science data from a variety of sensors on NASA Earth observing satellites to measure physical oceanography parameters such as ocean currents, ocean winds, sea surface height and sea surface temperature. These measurements, in combination with atmospheric measurements such as surface air temperature, precipitation and clouds can help scientists understand the ocean’s impact on weather and climate and what this means for life here on Earth. NASA satellites and their unique view from space are helping to unveil the vast… and largely unexplored…. OCEAN.

This video is public domain and can be downloaded at: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?11056

Optional video: Ocean Surface Currents

For more information on the coriolis effect a link to another video is provided.

Description of the video:

This visualization shows ocean surface currents around the world during the period from June 2005 through Decemeber 2007. The visualization does not include a narration or annotations; the goal was to use ocean flow data to create a simple, visceral experience.

This visualization was produced using NASA/JPL’s computational model called Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean, Phase II or ECCO2.. ECCO2 is high resolution model of the global ocean and sea-ice. ECCO2 attempts to model the oceans and sea ice to increasingly accurate resolutions that begin to resolve ocean eddies and other narrow-current systems which transport heat and carbon in the oceans.The ECCO2 model simulates ocean flows at all depths, but only surface flows are used in this visualization. The dark patterns under the ocean represent the undersea bathymetry. Topographic land exaggeration is 20x and bathymetric exaggeration is 40x.

This video is public domain and can be downloaded at: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a000000/…

Creative Commons License
Introduction to Water and Climate by TU Delft OpenCourseWare is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at https://ocw.tudelft.nl/courses/introduction-water-climate/.
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