Visualize surface ocean circulation from space

For those of you interested in learning more about ocean currents, particularly those around the Gulf of Maine (where the Isles of Shoals are located), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration presents a cool new graphical representation:

One could spend several blog posts going into depth on different types of ocean currents, the processes that drive them, and their relationship to the atmosphere. So, instead, I point out a a few cool features here.

1. Massive clockwise and counterclockwise gyres (those big turning circles) in each of the major oceans. In the Northern Hemisphere they turn clockwise while in the Southern Hemisphere they move counterclockwise. Know why? That’s right it’s the Coriolis Effect in each hemisphere. Not sure what this means? Click on the words to be taken to a link which describes the Coriolis Effect. But, put simply, it’s the way the inertial force of a rotating object deflects the path of an object moving upon it (think of a child throwing a ball on a merry-go-round).

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