Hydrology Paper

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Waves, Currents, and Tides
By Ben Houghton
1/28/09

My paper will focus on waves, currents, and tides. Our coast is affected greatly by these three things. My paper will explain how the waves, currents, and tides affect the people and environment of the coastal plain. Waves are a very powerful part of nature. They come in all sizes and they can be shaped many different ways. There are many parts to a wave. There is the crest, which is the highest point of the wave. The trough is the lowest point of a wave. The vertical distance between the crest and the trough is known as the wave’s height. The horizontal distance between the crest and trough of two successive waves is called the wave length. The main cause of waves is wind. The greater distance the wind blows, the stronger and bigger the wave is. When the wind blows over the ocean it picks up the water to form the wave. Gravity also plays a major role in creating waves. Since gravity of the water cannot move forwards or backwards it rises. The gravity pulls the wave back down into the ocean, thus causing the momentum of the wave. The pressure of the water pushes the water back up and it all starts again. The water particles cannot move forwards unless the wave breaks on or near the shore. They are formed by the bottom being slowed down due to the friction created by the oceans floor. A current is the part of a body of water or a gas that has a continuous onward movement. Currents can move very large amounts of water for great distances. Currents are mainly driven by winds, tides and they are also driven by gravity. They can affect the weather in many ways. Surface currents affect the climate, for instance warm currents keep northern climates mild where as cold climates prevent over heating in the summer time. There are seven major currents on our planet and they are known as the east wind drift, the west wind drift, the north...
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