GG 140 - Lecture 20 - Ocean Water Density and Atmospheric Forcing

Lecture 20 - Ocean Water Density and Atmospheric Forcing

Overview

Stability in the ocean is based on the density of the water. Density must increase with depth in order for the ocean to be stable. Density is a function of both temperature and salinity, with cold salty water having a higher density than warm fresh water. Temperature and salinity in the ocean can be affected by the atmosphere. Heat can be added to or removed from the ocean, and precipitation and evaporation change the salinity of the ocean. Surface winds also act as a forcing mechanism on the ocean by creating a wind stress forcing which pushes surface waters.

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