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The Oceans
E: Zones

Notes: Page 1, Front

Water Temperatures

Lagered Structure-

Absorption of insolation at the ocean surface causes a three-layered structure of the open ocean- the surface, pycnoline, & deep zones.

  • Surface Zone- contains less dense water, usaually as a result of higher temp. caused (water neutral) by warming of surface waters. Extensive mixing.
  • Pycnocline Zone- water density changes murkeully with depth. Water is very stable.
  • Deep Zone- the py. zone acts as a ceiling to the deep zone & prevents deep-ocean waters from readily mixing w/ surface waters or equilibrating w/ the atmosphere.

Temp - Heating of the ocean occurs during daylight & is warmest in late afternoon. More energy is absorbed when sun is high in sky, and less when the sun is near horizon

Ocean loses as much energy as it absorbs from insolation. -radiation of heat to space -Evaporation of water -Heating of atmosphere by conduction

Notes: Page 1, Back

  • Thermocline coincides w/ pycnocline
  • belts of equal surface-water temp run east-west
  • Gulf stream-warm water towards Poles
  • Labrador Current-cold water towards equator

Three-layered structural zones: surface mixed zone, transistion zone, deep zone, also pyncnocline and thermocline.

Click to enlarge image

Surface Mixed Zone

The Surface Mixed Zone is a top layer formed from less dense waters. Because it is in direct contact with the air, the salinity and the temperature of the Surface Mixed Zone can change often. For example, an increase in salinity could be caused by water evaporation, and a decrease in temperature could be caused by a cold front.

The Surface Mixed Zone is also known as the Mixed Zone.

http://www.onr.navy.mil/Focus/ocean/water/density1.htm

Transistion Zone

The Transistion Zone is the next layer. The density in the Transistion Zone does not change very much. Since the Transistion Zone is a barrier between the Surface Mixed Zone and the Deep Zone, little water movement is allowed between the two zones.

The Transistion Zone is not uniform in temperature like the Surface Mixed and Deep Zones. It represents the transition between the two zones. The Transistion Zone's temperature rapidly decreases from the warm waters of the Surface Mixed Zone to the much colder waters of the Deep Zone.  

The Transistion Zone is also known as the Pycnocline Zone of the Thermocline Zone.

http://ww2010.atmos.uiuc.edu/(Gh)/wwhlpr/thermocline.rxml

http://www.onr.navy.mil/Focus/ocean/water/density1.htm

Deep Zone

The Deep Zone is the bottom layer. The water in the Deep Zone remains cold and dense. In polar regions the Deep Zone is occasionally exposed to the atmosphere when the Transistion Zone is not present.

 

http://www.onr.navy.mil/Focus/ocean/water/density1.htm

Pycnocline

The Pycnocline Zone is another name for the Transistion Zone.

Thermocline

The Thermocline zone is another name for the Transistion Zone.

 

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