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Ocean Currents and Atmosphere Review

Name _______________________
Please complete the following questions to help prepare you for the test on
Friday, May 23
. This will be checked at the end of the hour and answers
will be posted on the classroom Weebly page Thursday night.
Good LUCK and Happy Studying 
Chapter 3 Section 1 & 2-Water On Earth
1. What is a surface current?
Movement of a large body of water at or very near to the surface of the ocean (or
large body of water)

2. What causes surface currents?
Wind creates surface currents.

3. What is the Coriolis Effect? What causes it and how does it rotate in the
Northern and Southern hemisphere?
Coriolis Effect is the deflection of fluids (winds and currents) caused by the
rotation of the earth. Coriolis causes fluids to move clockwise in the Northern
Hemisphere and Counter Clockwise in the South Hemisphere.

4. How do you determine if a surface current is warm or cold?
Surface currents are warmed while passing the equator and cooled while passing
the Polar Regions. Currents which are leaving the area near the equator are
warm and currents leaving polar areas are cold.

5. What is a deep ocean current?
Deep Ocean currents are large bodies of water that move on the ocean floor or
below the surface.

6. How does a deep ocean current form? What causes the movement?
Deep Ocean Currents form because water that is cold or has high salinity is more
dense and thus sinks. The sinking of this cold dense water causes water to
move creating deep ocean currents. The waters travel through the great
conveyor belt as it sinks in the Northern Atlanic and travels along the bottom of
the ocean.

7. How do ocean currents affect climate?
Climate in area are affect by currents because the bring in moister and warmer
temperature (warm current) or drier and cooler temperatures (cold current) than
areas of similar latitude. Ocean Currents also cause areas to have little change
in their monthly temperatures unlike areas away from the coast which have
temperatures that vary greatly throughout the year.

8. What is El Nino? Why does it form?
El Nino occurs when Pacific Waters are warmer than normal due to a weakening
of the trade winds. This causes less upwelling on the coast of California.

9. How does El Nino affect the weather patterns?
This causes droughts on the western side of the Pacific and cooler wetter
seasons on the eastern side of the Pacific.

10. What is La Nina? How does it form?
La Nina occurs when Pacific Ocean Currents are lower than normal. This is
cause by deep ocean water (cold) being brought to the surface.

Great Animation of El Nino and La Nina

Weather On Earth
Chapter 1 Sections 1-3

11. Describe each layer of the earth’s atmosphere?

Listed from closest to earth to outermost layer of the atmosphere
Troposhere- The troposphere is the first layer above the surface and contains half of the
Earth's atmosphere. Weather occurs in this layer.
Stratoshpere-Many jet aircrafts fly in the stratosphere because it is very stable. Also, the
ozone layer absorbs harmful rays from the Sun.
Mesoshere-Meteors or rock fragments burn up in the mesosphere.
Thermoshere-The thermosphere is a layer with auroras. It is also where the space
shuttle orbits.
Exosphere-The atmosphere merges into space in the extremely thin exosphere. This is
the upper limit of our atmosphere.

12. What keeps the earth’s atmosphere close to earth?
Gravity, without it we would not be able to keep the gases close to earth.

13. What is the composition of the atmosphere?
78 % Nitrogen, 21 % Oxygen, the remainder is made up of Argon, Carbon
Dioxide, Water Vapor and Trace Gases

14. What happens to the temperature and air pressure as the altitude changes?
As altitude rises the air pressure goes down as does the temperature. This is
due to the particles being more spead out due to the lower pressure and since
there are less collisions between particles the temperature goes down.

15. Describe what happens to the solar energy that reaches earth?
Majority of the solar energy is absorbed by earth ~50% and about 5% is
reflected. The other 45% is absorbed by clouds, ozone, or reflected by the

16. Describe the three types of heat transfer that happens in the universe.
Radiate Energy-Travels through empty space (vacuum). T
This is how the energy from the sun reaches earth.

Conduction-Transfer of heat through touching. Example touching a hot pan or
feeling hot sand on your feet

Convection- When warm fluids (gas and liquids) rise due to a decrease in density
and cold fluids sink due to becoming more dense.

17. What are greenhouse gases? What is their job?
Greenhouse gases are gases in the atmosphere which keep sun’s reflected
thermal energy from escaping into space thus keeping the earth warm. Major
Greenhouse Gases are Water Vapor, Carbon Dioxide. The job of greenhouse
gases is to act as a blanket to prevent too much heat from escaping earth.

18. Are greenhouses gases bad? Explain.
Greenhouse gases are not bad if they are at the right levels and essential for life
on earth. Too much Greenhouse gases will cause the global climate to warm
and too little greenhouse gases will cause the global climate to cool.

19. How do greenhouse gases relate to global warming and global cooling?
Answer is in question 18

20. What is Ozone? Is Ozone a greenhouse gas?
Ozone is a layer of gas in the atmosphere which blocks majority of the sun’s
harmful UV rays. Ozone is not a greenhouse gas as it does not help to trap heat
from the sun.

21. How does air pressure relate to wind direction?
Air moves from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure. Since wind
follows the path of air movement, winds start in the area of high pressure and
move toward the area of low pressure.

22. Describe the global winds.
Global Winds are created by the high and low pressures on earth and the
Coriolis Effect. Global winds only blow in one direction and affect everywhere on
the global. (Trade Winds, Westerlies, and Polar Easterlies)

23. What is a local wind?
Local Winds change directions and affect a small area. These include sea
breezes and land breezes.

24. Compare and contrast global winds.

Global Winds only blow in one direction and do not change.
Local Winds change directions frequently and only affect a small area.
Both move air from areas of low pressure to high pressure.