UPSC Mains General Studies Paper – 1 Mains 2022Factors responsible for the location of primary, secondary, and tertiary sector industries in various parts of the world including India.
- An ocean current flows for great distances and together they create the global conveyor belt, which plays a dominant role in determining the climate of many of Earth’s regions. The currents are generated from the forces acting upon the water- like the earth’s rotation, the wind, the solar radiation, salinity differences in the water, and the gravitation of the moon. The depth contours, the shoreline, and other currents influence the current’s direction and strength. In the fishing industry, ocean currents play a significant role in determining the distribution and abundance of certain fish species.
The forces that influence the ocean currents:
- Planetary Winds: The wind drives the surface currents of the oceans, pushing the water in a particular direction. The direction of the wind, as well as its strength and duration, determines the direction and strength of the surface currents. Friction is the coupling between the wind and the water’s surface. Example: Trade winds push the Equatorial currents westwards.
- Earth’s rotation: One of the main forces that influence ocean currents is the Earth’s rotation. The Earth’s rotation causes the oceans to bulge at the equator and flatten at the poles, creating a system of currents known as the thermohaline circulation. This circulation helps to distribute heat from the equator to the poles, regulating the Earth’s climate.
- Coriolis force: Coriolis force acts to the right in the northern hemisphere and to the left in the southern hemisphere. Hence the circulation of ocean current (GYRE) in the northern hemisphere and southern hemisphere is clockwise and anti clockwise respectively.
- Solar Heating: Solar heating causes water to expand. Near the equator the water is about 8 centimetres higher than in middle latitudes. This causes a very slight slope and water wants to flow down the slope.
- Temperature Difference: Temperature is another significant force that influences ocean currents. Warm water is less dense than cold water, so it tends to rise to the surface. This creates surface currents that move warm water away from the equator and towards the poles. Cold water, on the other hand, is more dense than warm water and tends to sink. This creates deep ocean currents that move cold water toward the equator.
- Salinity Difference: Salinity, or the concentration of salt in the water, is another important force that influences ocean currents. When water evaporates, it leaves behind salt, which increases the salinity of the water. This increases the water’s density, causing it to sink and creating deep ocean currents. Areas of high salinity, such as the Mediterranean Sea, can also create surface currents that move water toward areas of lower salinity.
The role of ocean currents in the fishing industry of the world:
- Ocean currents play a crucial role in the fishing industry. The distribution of nutrients and marine life is influenced by ocean currents, which affect where fish are found and how abundant they are in different areas. Some of the most significant ways that ocean currents impact the fishing industry include:
- Upwelling: As mentioned earlier, upwelling is the process by which deep, nutrient-rich water is brought to the surface. This process is essential to the fishing industry, as it provides an abundance of nutrients for marine life. Areas of upwelling, such as the coasts of Peru and West Africa, are known for their rich fishing grounds.
- Migration patterns: Ocean currents also influence the migration patterns of fish. Some species of fish, such as salmon, are known to migrate long distances to reach their spawning grounds. Ocean currents can impact the timing and location of these migrations, which can affect the fishing industry’s ability to catch these fish.
- Fishing locations: Ocean currents also influence where fish are found. Areas with high nutrient concentrations, such as upwelling zones, tend to have more abundant fish populations. The Gulf Stream, for example, is known for its rich fishing grounds, particularly for tuna and swordfish.
- Climate patterns: Ocean currents also play a role in climate patterns. The movement of warm and cold water influences regional weather patterns, which can impact the fishing industry. Changes in ocean currents can also lead to changes in water temperature, which can affect the migration patterns and abundance of fish.
Hence, the forces that influence ocean currents play a critical role in the fishing industry worldwide. Wind, temperature, salinity, and the Earth’s rotation all contribute to the distribution of nutrients and marine life in the world’s oceans. Upwelling, migration patterns, fishing locations, and climate patterns are all impacted by ocean currents and affect the fishing industry’s ability to catch fish. Understanding these forces and their role in ocean currents is essential to the fishing industry’s sustainability and success. As we continue to study and monitor these forces, we can better manage and protect our oceans’ resources for future generations.
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