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Mains Test Series


Q. Examine the importance of ocean currents with respect to the climate and human society. (250 words)


Ocean currents are like river flow in oceans. They represent a regular volume of water in a definite path and direction. Several forces act upon ocean water, causing it to move. They include temperature, wind, breaking waves and tides, and sometimes underground forces like earthquakes.

The movement of ocean currents affects the regulation of local weather conditions, stabilization of global climate patterns, cycling of gases, and delivery of nutrients and larvae to marine ecosystems.

Major currents:Everything You Need To Know About Oceans Mains Test

Importance of Ocean currents with respect to climate:

  1. Results in the rain:  
    1. Warm current leads to evaporation, which turns into rain for the coastal areas. For Example, the North Atlantic Drift brings rainfall to western parts of Europe, resulting in precipitation throughout the year.
    2. Monsoon in South East Asia & East Asia For example, the movement of warm ocean currents in the Western Indian Ocean helps the Indian Summer Monsoon.
  2. Location of Desert: Cold currents do not give rise to moisture-laden winds. Therefore, the coasts that receive cold currents receive no rainfall. This causes desertification in the affected coastal regions, such as the Patagonia Deserts and Kalahari Deserts, because of the Falkland Current and Benguela Current, respectively.
  3. Ice-free coasts: In Alaska and Western Europe, this can be attributed to the warm North Pacific drift and Gulf Stream.
  4. Sea Fog: When warm waters reach colder waters, fog forms. Fog is common in coastal deserts bordering cold currents.
  5. Climate Balance: Various ocean currents are responsible for moving the heat from the equatorial region and towards the polar region, maintaining the climate balance. Thus, ocean currents regulate climate by counteracting the uneven distribution of solar radiation on the Earth’s surface.
  6. The intermixing of water regulates salinity in the oceans, too.

Importance of Ocean currents with respect to Human society:  

  1. Fishing zones:
    1. Intermixing Zones: Areas where cold and warm ocean currents meet act as fertile grounds for Phytoplankton and zooplankton, which attract fish. For Example, in the east of Japan, the warm Oyashio meets the cold Kuroshio, creating one of the most fertile fishing grounds on Earth.
    2. Upwelling & Algal Blooms: In Antarctica, upwelling currents pump phosphates and nitrogen up from the deep-sea region to blooms of algae and other plants. The plankton are eaten by krill. The krill, in turn, seabirds, seals, etc.
    3. Coral Reefs: Coral reefs grow in the area’s continuous flow of salineoxygenated water. Ocean Currents provides these.
    4. Transportation of nutrients and reproductive cells.
    5. Economy:
    6. Vital for ports: Warm ocean currents are responsible for keeping the ports in polar areas operational because they keep the ports ice-free. For Example, the North Atlantic Drift keeps the ports in Norway icefree even in winter.
    7. Transportation: Ocean Currents act as highways for sea transport for fast movement of vessels.

Conclusion: Ocean currents act like a global conveyor belt, transporting cold water from the polar region toward the tropical region and warm water from the equatorial region towards the polar region. Without ocean currents, regional temperatures would be more extreme, hotter in the equatorial region and frigid toward the polar region, and much less of Earth’s land would be habitable.

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