The World Ocean
Changes in ocean circulation strongly influence climate. This is because the circulation of water throughout the world’s five oceans, together with the atmosphere, transfers heat from the equator to the polar regions. The factors influencing how water circulates within each ocean and from one ocean to another include the spin of the Earth; the winds; the input of fresh water from rivers, rain, and melting ice; the positions of the continents; and the topography of the seafloor.
Circulation in the ocean transfers solar heat from the equator to the poles.
Topic: Earth Science
Subtopic: Climate/Climate Change
Keywords: Atmospheric circulation, Climatology, Ocean circulation, Ocean-atmosphere interaction, Temperature
The ocean’s waters form layers, with denser water at the bottom.
Surface currents are driven by the winds, and in turn influence atmospheric circulation.
Water warmed at the equator by the Sun flows into the North Atlantic, where it is cooled and becomes more salty because of evaporation.
The rivers and the oceans that feed them have different compositions.