# How deep can a surface current go?

## How deep can a surface current go?

50 to 100 meters
These are winds that drive the system of surface currents in the ocean. Surface currents are only 50 to 100 meters deep (Table 3.1). Though shallow, they are extremely important in determining the world’s weather and climates, and in distributing the ocean’s heat and nutrients.

At what depth are the surface currents found in the ocean?

Surface currents, which make up only 8% of all water in the ocean, are generally restricted to the upper 400 m (1,300 ft) of ocean water, and are separated from lower regions by varying temperatures and salinity which affect the density of the water, which in turn, defines each oceanic region.

### How deep do surface ocean currents extend?

Surface currents can extend to depths of about 65 feet (20 meters). Landmasses—continental coasts and islands—also affect surface currents.

What is the maximum depth of most surface currents?

The winds that drive surface currents are the Westerlies that blow west to east at 40 degrees to 50 degrees latitude and the trade winds that blow east to west at 20 degrees latitude. Surface currents occur in near shore waters with a maximum depth of 100 to 200 meters.

#### How strong is the current in the ocean?

The currents usually move at 1 to 2 feet per second (0.3 to 0.6 meters per second), but stronger ones can pull at 8 feet per second (1.6 meters/second).

Do ocean currents appear to have an impact on ocean floor depth?

The Gulf Stream is one of the strong ocean currents that carries warm water from the tropics to the higher latitudes. This tends to drag the water surface along as the wind blows over it. Although the wind strongly affects the surface layer, its influence does not extend much below about 100 meters (325 feet) in depth.

## How warm does the Pacific Ocean get?

Pacific Ocean As the second warmest ocean, much of its surface temperatures is about 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit (21 to 27 Celsius), but near the North and South Poles, this goes down to about 28 Fahrenheit (-2 Celsius).

Where do the surface currents in the ocean come from?

The simplified map in Fig. 3.13 shows the surface winds that flow from regions of high atmospheric pressure over the world’s oceans. These are winds that drive the system of surface currents in the ocean. Surface currents are only 50 to 100 meters deep (Table 3.1).

### What happens to the speed of the surface current as depth increases?

As depth increases the speed of each layer decreases. As current moves down the water column, some water flows in a direction opposite to the surface current (Fig. 3.15). This current pattern is called the Ekman spiral.

How is the global conveyor belt different from surface currents?

When they can’t go any farther, the two sections loop back to the South Atlantic Ocean and finally back to the North Atlantic Ocean, where the cycle starts again. The global conveyor belt moves much more slowly than surface currents — a few centimeters per second, compared to tens or hundreds of centimeters per second.

#### Why are upwelling currents important to the ocean?

Upwelling currents bring cold nutrient-rich waters from the ocean bottom to the surface, supporting many of the most important fisheries and ecosystems in the world. These currents support the growth of phytoplankton and seaweed which provide the energy base for consumers higher in the food chain, including fish, marine mammals, and humans.