Ocean Currents

The ocean is never still.  Ocean currents are constantly moving and churning the waters.  There are surface currents and deep currents and upwelling currents.  All these currents move heat and nutrients around the world oceans.  The currents affect the land as well.  Here is an Ocean Currents Map showing some of the major surface currents in the oceans.

ocean_currents_web

Color the arrows in red for warm currents and dark blue for cold currents.  The major currents can be labeled with the help of a student atlas.  The rest of the ocean should be colored light blue.

ocean_currents_map_colored

The currents that begin near the equator are moving warm water to regions nearer the poles, which warms these regions and helps the earth remain temperate.  The currents that begin closer to the poles move cold water toward the equator, cooling the hot regions of the earth.

The circulation of the earth’s oceans keeps all that water from stagnating as well. Can you imagine a giant ocean swamp? Uck! Image from Wikimedia, CC license.

Besides the way heat and nutrients are moved around the earth the currents also help with shipping.  If a ship moves with the current it can move much more quickly than if it fights the current or moves across a current.  Shipping lanes traveled by large container ships and passenger ships take these currents into account.

This is a picture, drawn by Benjamin Franklin, of the Gulf Stream, a major ocean current that takes ships quickly from North America to Europe. Public domain.

Additional Layers

  • Tides are a part of the system that keeps the ocean waters moving as well.  Find out what causes tides.
  • Surface tides are caused by wind and the turning of the earth.  Deep currents are caused by temperature differences and salinity differences in the ocean.
  • There are other movements too, upwelling and downwelling, where ocean water moves from the depths to the surface or vice versa.
  • The European eel depends on the ocean currents to complete its life cycle.  Find out more about this animal.

More From Layers of Learning

We have the best tips and tricks for making amazing blanket forts.

We have the best tips and tricks for making amazing blanket forts.

Feed the birds with these great crafts!

Feed the birds with these great crafts!

Learn an ancient Roman legend about Horatius at the Bridge.

Learn an ancient Roman legend about Horatius at the Bridge.

Tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Ocean Currents

  1. Bianca and daichelle says:

    I loved it it gave me answes on my test

  2. Sharon says:

    Wonderful materials. Thank you for sharing!!! It’s just what I needed.

  3. this was awesome thank u so much for making this site

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *