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The Sun,
Winds
and
Water
TEKS 8.10A recognize that
the sun provides the
energy that drives
convection within the
atmosphere and ocean,
producing winds and ocean
currents
The Sun is the
source of most
of the heat
energy on
Earth.
Energy from the
Sun travels through
space and enters
the Earth system
through the
atmosphere.
The heat energy
from the Sun
provides the “fuel”
for Earth’s
weather.
Since the Earth is
tilted on its axis,
areas of the
earth do not
receive heat
energy equally.
The equator
receives more
direct energy,
while the poles
receive much less.
This uneven
heating causes
differences in
temperature &
pressure of large
air masses…
…because of the
differences,
areas of warm
air rise while
the cooler air
sinks.
This pattern of
circulation; called
convection; creates
Earth’s weather.
Think about what
happens when you
blow on hot cocoa
to cool it off…
…the surface of the
hot cocoa moves in
the direction of your
breath.
Winds moves ocean
water in a similar
way, creating
surface currents.
Surface currents
are driven by winds
that blow for long
distances over the
ocean surface.
Because
Earth is
rotating,
the winds
blow in a
curved
path.
Since the winds
move in a curved
path, so do the
ocean’s surface
currents.
This effect is
called the Coriolis
Effect or Coriolis
Force.
Winds or waters that
originate near the
poles carry high
pressure, cold air or
water.
Winds or waters that
flow from near the
equator transport
lower pressure, warm
air or water.
As you can see, the
Earth’s oceans and winds
act as a system to
distribute heat energy
around the globe.