Ocean waves are an expression of energy moving through water. The most common ocean waves are caused by surface winds pushing water toward land. Seismic activity can also cause waves, such as tsunamis created by undersea earthquakes or landslides. Undersea currents can also influence wave formation, creating small oscillations deep in the ocean that can intensify once the waves approach a coastline.Continue Reading
In the open ocean, waves are called swells. These are responsible for the up-and-down motion of boats on the sea, and they are caused by leftover kinetic energy perpetuating through the seawater. As waves reach shallower water, however, the rising ocean floor constricts the lower portion of the waveform, causing the upper reaches to amplify. Eventually, the wave becomes too tall to support itself, and it collapses or crashes. This is also why a tsunami may start out just a meter or two high in the deep ocean and rise to life-threatening levels once it hits the shoreline.
High and low tide are actually waves, created by the interaction of the gravitational fields of the moon and sun. The pull of these celestial bodies creates bulges in the ocean, and as the Earth rotates, the bulges create tides by effectively raising and lowering the water level.Learn more about Earth Science
According to the NSRC Science and Technology Concepts for Middle Schools, convection currents in the ocean are convection cells that contain warmer water. These cells move along the surface of the water to deeper cold water and poles that flow in the direction of the equator.Full Answer >
The ocean's surface currents move warm and cold water around the world, affecting air temperature above the currents and moisture content. Surface currents have the biggest affect on the climate of coastal regions.Full Answer >
Wind, temperature differences, water density and salinity all play a role in generating ocean currents. Currents may also be influenced by external forces, such as earthquakes, the coriolis effect produced by the Earth's rotation, and the gravitational pull of the Moon.Full Answer >
The water cycle has no definitive starting point, but the majority of the earth's water exists in the ocean. Therefore, many diagrams or explanations of the water cycle begin there. The stages of the water cycle include evaporation, transportation, condensation, precipitation, groundwater and run-off.Full Answer >