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Antarctic Circulation Pattern

  • Zones of surface convergence and divergence mark regions of sinking and rising water; driving force is Coriolis effect
  • Convergence = two water masses flow towards each other, water is subducted: downwelling
  • Divergence = two water masses flow apart from each other, water from depth replaces surface water: upwelling
  • Upwelling brings oxygen and nutrients into surface layer
  • Surface convergence occurs at:
    • 0° in the tropical convergence,
    • 30°40°N & S in the subtropical convergence
    • 50°N&S in the Arctic & Antarctic convergence
  • Surface divergence occurs in three areas:
    • on either side of the tropical convergence
    • in the Antarctic divergence
  • Oceanic divergence and convergence zones are sites of vertical water mass transport
  • Significance: Vertical transport of nutrients, oxygen, CO2, heat
  • Deep-sea currents are globally connected

Water Masses in the Atlantic Ocean