Upwelling Case Study – Exploring Surface Currents

Investigating Physical Ocean Conditions

Surface ocean current data

These graphs show wind speed and direction measured at the M1 and M2 moorings during fall. Winds drive the the direction of surface ocean currents, shown below for the spring months; these data are from land-based high frequency (“HF”) radar systems.


Arrows show current directions. At the M1 and M2 sites, are relationships between winds and surface currents consistent with what you’ve learned about the Coriolis effect?

(To see the data in motion, click the image at left. For other winter current animations, click links below.)


Given these surface current patterns, do you think that upwelling occurred during the fall months?

If so, hit “GO!” to see water temperature data:

If not, choose another season to investigate:

Additional Resources:


Upwelling Case Study | Next Step: Investigating Sea-Surface Temperature >

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