1. Surface Currents--Surface Circulation. These waters make up about 10% of all the water in the ocean. These waters are the upper 400 meters of the ocean. 2. Deep Water Currents--Thermohaline Circulation. These waters make up the other 90% of the ocean. These waters move around the ocean basins by density driven forces and gravity.
The North Atlantic Gyre, located in the Atlantic Ocean, is one of the five major oceanic gyres. It is a circular system of ocean currents that stretches across the North Atlantic from near the equator almost to Iceland, and from the east coast of North America to the west coasts of Europe and Africa.
These waters move around the ocean basins by density driven forces and gravity. The density difference is a function of different temperatures and salinity. These deep waters sink into the deep ocean basins at high latitudes where the temperatures are cold enough to cause the density to increase. Ocean Currents are influenced by two types of forces. 1.
Thermohaline circulation is also known as the ocean's conveyor belt (which refers to deep ocean density-driven ocean basin currents). These currents, called submarine rivers, flow under the surface of the ocean and are hidden from immediate detection.
Winds blowing on the surface of the ocean push the water. Friction is the coupling between the wind and the water's surface. A wind blowing for 10 hours across the ocean will cause the surface waters to flow at about 2% of the wind speed. Water will pile up in the direction the wind is blowing.