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Wind-Driven Ocean Currents and Ekman Transport

James F. Price, Robert A. Weller and Rebecca R. Schudlich
Science
New Series, Vol. 238, No. 4833 (Dec. 11, 1987), pp. 1534-1538
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1700971
Page Count: 5
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Wind-Driven Ocean Currents and Ekman Transport
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Abstract

Oceanographers have long sought to verify the theoretical Ekman transport relation, which predicts that a steady wind stress acting together with the Coriolis force will produce a transport of water to the right of the wind. In situ measurements of wind and ocean currents provide a detailed view of this phenomenon. By separating the wind-driven current from the measured total current and by averaging over a long record, it is found that the observed transport is consistent with theoretical Ekman transport to within about 10 percent. In this case the wind-driven transport is strongly surface trapped, with 95 percent occurring in the upper 25 meters as a result of fair summer weather.

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