Effects of oceans on climate Essay

Published: 2020-02-04 21:10:55
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The global oceans cover large area of the earths surface in fact more area than that covered by the land mass. The oceans are major players in climate and they affect the climate experienced to a very large extent. Basically, the climate is influenced by parameters such as temperature, pressure and wind which are all affected by the oceans. Due to differential heating the earth receives more solar energy at the tropics as compared to the extra tropical regions.

The oceans play a very significant role in distributing this heat energy across the world. The distribution of heat and moisture by the oceans contributes significantly to the climate systems of several regions as these are some of the main parameters affecting climate. The nature of currents in the oceans determines the nature of climate that is to be experienced in the neighboring region.

The regions located closely to ocean areas with warm currents experience more rainfall since warm moist air is blown to them whereas the regions close to ocean areas that experience cold currents receive cold dry air and are thus dry and in most cases, such regions are deserts or semi deserts (McEwan, & Anderson, pp 58). How the oceans affect climate The oceans contain a lot of water; the oceans at the tropics receive a lot of heat energy which leads to massive evaporation in these regions. When winds blow over such oceans, they carry with them the warm moist air which causes convectional rainfall around the oceans.

When such moisture is carried by the winds to higher grounds such as the mountainous regions the warm moist air is forced to rise adiabatically since it is unstable and thus condenses and falls as rainfall on the windward side of such mountains while the other side of the mountain facing away from the oceans receives either very little rainfall or no relief rainfall, this side of the mountain is known as the leeward side (Carter, Para 5). The oceans influence the climate of a region either over a short or a long time scale.

The location and the shape of the continents play a very significant role in determining the circulation patterns of the oceans. This is due to the fact that the drift of the continental plates is about five centimeters per annum while that of the mountains is about one millimeter. On the short scale the oceans affects the sea and the land breezes that are usually experienced in the neighborhood of the oceans, where there are cool breezes during the day and warm ones at night. Also on the short scale the oceans affects the convectional rainfall that is usually experienced almost all afternoons in the regions near the oceans.

On the large scale the oceans take several years to complete on circulation and therefore effectively distribute heat energy, thus this will take a long period of time before climate can be affected by the ocean circulations (Siedler, Church, & Gould, pp 224). The atmosphere and the oceans are closely connected to each other and they both form the main vibrant constituent of the climate system. Alterations in the factors such as the solar energy, emission of various green house gases such as carbon dioxide and the distribution of plant species can all lead to the change of circulation and temperature patterns of the ocean atmosphere system.

Since the oceans and the atmosphere are turbulent in nature they generate some internal fluctuations of their own. Short term variations in temperature or wind can influence the temperature and the currents directly of the under lying sea. The ocean fluctuations can have the effect of diminishing, magnifying, or modifying the atmospheric fluctuations and thus affect the climate (Carter, Para 7). The oceans usually play la very significant role in the storage of carbon and heat; they both play a critical role in climate of a region.

When the surface of the earth is heated or cooled by radiation from the sun, it experiences faster and greater changes in temperature than what the oceans experience. This is basically due to the fact that the ocean is heated over a grater depth than the surface of the earth and also since the ocean has greater specific heat capacity than the solid earth surface. Because the ocean is fluid, it is capable of diffusing the effects of changes in temperature for great vertical distances through convective movements and vertical mixing. The solid surface of the earth is incapable of such and thus it is only heated over a very thin layer.

The major significance of the ability of the ocean to absorb a lot of heat is that, when it becomes cool or warm it takes a lot of time for it to loose or gain the heat than it takes the earths surface. This effectively explains why some climates such as the Maritime are less extreme as compared to the continental climates. This is as a result of more stable conditions in the oceans since fluctuations are of less magnitude, whereas over land surface fluctuations of a higher magnitude are experienced and thus more extreme climates are experienced (Bigg, pp 134).

The waters of the ocean are usually moved by currents which are very powerful. The ocean surface currents are mainly driven by wind, but they are also affected by earths rotation, the continents and also the internal dynamics of the oceans. Deep flow in the ocean is usually driven by differences in density of the ocean waters; the density differences are as a result of cooling and heating and also due to evaporation and precipitation as they all influence the salinity of the ocean waters.

The currents in the oceans are the major transporters of moisture and temperatures in the oceans which greatly affect the climate of their destinations (Carter, Para 8). The land regions that neighbor coastal regions that are dominated by warm ocean currents usually receive a lot of rainfall since the warm currents are able to transport a lot of moisture to these regions. These regions as a result become unstable leading to convergence and strong winds. On the other hand the regions that are located closely to the coastal regions that experience cold currents are mainly deserts and semi deserts.

This is due to the fact that cold dry air is usually blown to these regions making them to be very stable and, they are thus regions of high pressure. Wind blows from regions of high pressure to those of low pressure thus these regions usually have winds blowing away from them (Herring, Para 4-5). Conclusion The oceans are very significant players in climate systems; climate allover the world is primarily influenced by the solar system and seasons are characterized by the movements of the sun to the northern or southern hemisphere or overhead at the equator.

The oceans are very important elements in storing and distributing the heat energy from the sun. As a result of the storage and distribution of the solar energy by the oceans climate is significantly influenced. The oceans affect the main factors that are very significant in climate systems. These include the temperature, pressure and the winds and thus the oceans directly or indirectly affect the climate of various regions.

Work cited:

Bigg, Grant R. ; The oceans and climate (2003): Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0521016347.Carter, Chris; Ocean Currents, Climate and Weather (1998): Retrieved on 16th May from, http://www. can-do. com/uci/lessons98/Raft. html. Herring, David; Ocean and Climate ;( 2009): Retrieved on 16th May from, http://earthobservatory. nasa. gov/Features/OceanClimate/. McEwan, Angus & Anderson, Tim; Oceanography (1987): CSIRO, ISBN 0643037993. Siedler, Gerold, Church, John & Gould, John; Ocean circulation and climate: observing and modelling the global ocean (2001): Academic Press, ISBN 0126413517.

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