ocean gyre


  • [5] One can make similar arguments for subtropical gyres in the southern hemisphere and for subpolar gyres in either hemisphere and see that the result remains the same: the
    return flow of an ocean gyre is always in the form of a western boundary current.

  • [64] Paleo-climate reconstruction also suggest that during the past cold climate intervals, i.e., ice ages, some of the western boundary currents (western branches of the
    subtropical ocean gyres) are closer to the equator than their modern positions.

  • It is a region where large amounts of heat transported northward by the ocean are released into the atmosphere, thereby modifying the climate of northwest Europe.

  • Due to the African continent not extending as far south as the Indian Ocean Gyre, some of the water in the Agulhas Current “leaks” into the Atlantic Ocean, with potentially
    important effects for global thermohaline circulation.

  • The sea level pressure center may have a greater impact on the Ross Gyre transport or the throughflow, depending on its location and strength.

  • The North Atlantic Subpolar Gyre has significant implications for climate regulation, as it helps redistribute heat and nutrients throughout the North Atlantic, influencing
    weather patterns and supporting diverse marine life.

  • [19] South Pacific Gyre[edit] The South Pacific Gyre, like its northern counterpart, is one of the largest ecosystems on Earth with an area that accounts for around 10% of
    the global ocean surface area.

  • This gyre has significant effects on interactions in the Southern Ocean between waters of the Antarctic margin, the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, and intervening gyres with
    a strong seasonal sea ice cover play a major role in the climate system.

  • [39] However, since subtropical gyres cover 60% of the ocean surface, their relatively low production per unit area is made up for by covering massive areas of the Earth.

  • In oceanography, a gyre (/ˈdʒaɪər/) is any large system of circulating ocean surface currents, particularly those involved with large wind movements.

  • Satellite observational sea surface height and sea surface temperature data suggest that the world’s major ocean gyres are slowly moving towards higher latitudes in the past
    few decades.

  • This means western boundary currents are much stronger than interior currents,[5] a phenomenon called “western intensification”.

  • [29] The deepening of sea level pressures over the Southeast Pacific/Amundsen-Bellingshausen Seas generates a cyclonic circulation cell that reduces sea surface heights north
    of the Ross Gyre via Ekman suction.

  • [33] The Weddell Gyre (WG) is one of the main oceanographic features of the Southern Ocean south of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current which plays an influential role in global
    ocean circulation as well as gas exchange with the atmosphere.

  • For example, the western branches of the subtropical gyres flow from the lower latitudes towards higher latitudes, bringing relatively warm and moist air to the adjacent land,
    contributing to a mild and wet climate (e.g., East China, Japan).

  • The gyre plays a crucial role in the transport of heat, nutrients, and marine life in the Southern Ocean, affecting the distribution of sea ice and influencing regional climate

  • [63] Climate change Ocean circulation re-distributes the heat and water-resources, therefore determines the regional climate.

  • [28] which controls the proximity of the warm waters of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current to the Ross Sea continental shelf, where they may drive ice shelf melting and increase
    sea level.

  • Their influence on the distribution of freshwater has broad impacts for global sea level rise and climate dynamics.

  • The strong atmospheric circulation in the autumn, combined with significant areas of open water, demonstrates the effect that wind stress has directly on the surface geostrophic

  • In the shallow water equations (applicable for basin-scale flow as the horizontal length scale is much greater than the vertical length scale), potential vorticity is a function
    of relative (local) vorticity , planetary vorticity , and the depth , and is conserved with respect to the material derivative:[4] In the case of the subtropical ocean gyre, Ekman pumping results in water piling up in the center of the gyre,
    compressing water parcels.

  • [26] The North Atlantic Subpolar Gyre is in a region where the AMOC is actively developed and shaped through mixing and water mass transformation.

  • This gyre functions as a critical mechanism for the transport of heat, nutrients, and sea ice within the Arctic region, thus influencing the physical and biological characteristics
    of the marine environment.

  • Considering again the case of a subtropical northern hemisphere gyre, the return flow must be northward.

  • Within the North Pacific Gyre is the Great Pacific garbage patch, an area of increased plastic waste concentration.

  • Part of the North Atlantic Current flows into the Norwegian Sea, and some recirculate within the boundary currents of the subpolar gyre.

  • The only way to decrease the planetary vorticity is by moving the water parcel equatorward, so throughout the majority of subtropical gyres there is a weak equatorward flow.

  • This is different to the subpolar North Pacific, where almost no phytoplankton bloom occurs and patterns of respiration are more consistent through time than in the North

  • The weak interior flow that is typical over most of the gyre is a result of the conservation of potential vorticity.

  • [45] Lack of nutrients in the surface waters of subtropical gyres is related to the strong downwelling and sinking of particles that occurs in these areas as mentioned earlier.

  • [38] Due to their oligotrophic characteristics, warm subtropical gyres have some of the least productive waters per unit surface area in the ocean.

  • [1] Gyre can refer to any type of vortex in an atmosphere or a sea,[2] even one that is human-created, but it is most commonly used in terrestrial oceanography to refer to
    the major ocean systems.

  • In contrast, the eastern boundary currents of the subtropical gyres streaming from the higher latitudes towards lower latitudes, corresponding to a relatively cold and dry
    climate (e.g., California).

  • Thus, this solution requires that in order to increase the relative vorticity and have a valid northward return flow in the northern hemisphere subtropical gyre.

  • Unlike the North Pacific garbage patch which was first described in 1988,[19] the South Pacific garbage patch was discovered much more recently in 2016[24] (a testament to
    the extreme remoteness of the South Pacific Gyre).

  • The highest productivity in the North Atlantic occurs in boreal spring when there are long days and high levels of nutrients.

  • A qualitative argument for the presence of western boundary current solutions over eastern boundary current solutions can be found again through the conservation of potential

  • The relative reduction of sea surface heights to the north facilitates a northeastward expansion of the outer boundary of the Ross Gyre.

  • The western boundary current must transport on the same order of water as the interior Sverdrup transport in a much smaller area.

  • [60] The Māori have a rich oral history of navigation within the Southern Ocean and Antarctic Ocean and a deep understanding their ice and ocean patterns.

  • The Ross Sea, Antarctica, is a region where the mixing of distinct water masses and complex interactions with the cryosphere lead to the production and export of dense water,
    with global-scale impacts.

  • The North Atlantic Current develops out of the Gulf Stream extension and turns eastward, crossing the Atlantic in a wide band between about 45°N and 55°N creating the southern
    border of the North Atlantic Subpolar Gyre.

  • Flotsam can be blown by the wind, or follow the flow of ocean currents, often ending up in the middle of oceanic gyres where currents are weakest.

  • [5] This allows for two cases: one with the return flow on the western boundary (western boundary current) and one with the return flow on the eastern boundary (eastern boundary

  • [65][66] These evidence implies that global warming is very likely to push the large-scale ocean gyres towards higher latitudes.

  • Here, the water moves south in the Brazil Current, the western boundary current of the South Atlantic Gyre.

  • Known as wayfinding, navigators would use the stars, winds, and ocean currents to know where they were on the ocean and where they were headed.

  • [40] This means that, despite being areas of relatively low productivity and low nutrients, they play a large role in contributing to the overall amount of ocean production.

  • This energy could manifest in many different ways, like strong ocean currents, calm seas, or turbulent storms.

  • The velocity profile within the boundary layer calculated using Munk’s boundary layer solution[8] for both the case of a western boundary (top) and eastern boundary (bottom)
    in a northern hemisphere subtropical gyre.

  • [5] The normalized stream function (right) computed using Munk’s boundary layer solution[8] in a rectangular, flat-bottomed ocean gyre on a beta plane in the northern hemisphere
    centered at 30°N with horizontal length scale .

  • Western intensification[edit] See also: Boundary current § Western intensification As the Sverdrup balance argues, subtropical ocean gyres have a weak equatorward flow and
    subpolar ocean gyres have a weak poleward flow over most of their area.

  • The North Equatorial Current brings warm waters west towards the Caribbean and defines the southern edge of the North Atlantic Gyre.

  • Circulation of surface wind and ocean water is cyclonic, counterclockwise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere, around a low-pressure area,
    such as the persistent Aleutian Low and the Icelandic Low.

  • [5] Due to friction at the boundary, the velocity of flow must go to zero at the sidewall before reaching some maximum northward velocity within the boundary layer and decaying
    to the southward Sverdrup transport solution far away from the boundary.

  • Biogeochemistry of Gyres Depending on their location around the world, gyres can be regions of high biological productivity or low productivity.

  • The South Equatorial Current forms the northern boundary of the Indian Ocean Gyre as it flows west along the equator towards the east coast of Africa.

  • The ensuing southward Ekman transport anomaly raises sea surface heights over the continental shelf and accelerates the westward throughflow by increasing the cross-slope
    pressure gradient.

  • These nutrients can come from not only vertical transport, but also lateral transport across gyre fronts.

  • The South Equatorial Current brings water west towards South America, forming the northern boundary of the South Atlantic gyre.

  • However, in the North Atlantic Subpolar Gyre, spring productivity is low in comparison to expected levels.

  • Like the North Pacific Gyre, the South Pacific Gyre has an elevated concentration of plastic waste near the center, termed the South Pacific garbage patch.

  • Even though this gyre is located nearby two of the most prominent research stations in the world for Antarctic study, the Ross Gyre remains one of the least sampled gyres
    in the world.

  • [25] Subpolar circulation in the southern hemisphere is dominated by the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, due to the lack of large landmasses breaking up the Southern Ocean.

  • At roughly 50°N, the flow turns east and becomes the North Pacific Current.

  • [3] Wind-driven ocean gyres are asymmetrical, with stronger flows on their western boundary and weaker flows throughout their interior.

  • [26] The Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) is a key component of the global climate system through its transport of heat and freshwater.

  • Subtropical gyres typically consist of four currents: a westward flowing equatorial current, a poleward flowing, narrow, and strong western boundary current, an eastward flowing
    current in the midlatitudes, and an equatorward flowing, weaker, and broader eastern boundary current.


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