Climate

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1)What is a gyre? How many currents exist within each gyre? Name the five subtropical gyres, and identify the primary surface currents that comprise each gyre?

A gyre is large system of rotating ocean currents, which dominates the surfaces of the ocean. Five subtropical gyres are the following:

North Pacific
South Pacific
North Atlantic
South Atlantic
Indian Ocean

2)Describe the process of coastal upwelling. Why is an abundance of marine life associated with these areas?

The process known as coastal upwelling occurs when winds blow toward the equator and parallel to the coast. Because of the Coriolis Effect, the surface water moves away from the shore area and is replaced by cold water from below. An example of coastal upwelling is the colder ocean temperatures along the California coast as compared to the east coast of the United States. Upwelling also brings nutrient rich water to the surface thus attracting marine life to the area.

3)In what direction is longshore transport occurring in figure 10.22? Is it toward the top left or toward the bottom right of the photo?

In the figure 10.22 of the text, the sand seems to be accumulated on the right side of the groins, which means that the longshore current is transporting sand right to left (toward the top left of the figure).

4)Relate the damming of rivers to the shrinking of beaches at some locations along the west coast of the United States.

Along the West Coast, much of the sand found on beaches originates as clastic sediment in streams and rivers that discharge into the sea. Damming these streams traps the sand behind the dam and reduces the input of new sand to the beach system. With reduced input, not enough of the sand lost to offshore areas is being replaced; thus the beach is starved and narrowed by erosion. Narrowed beaches allow storm waves to directly impact a sea cliff with minimal loss of energy, thus accelerating its erosional retreat. Reservoirs trap...
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