Interaction with the oceans

The atmosphere, with its movements and the phenomena that take place, is not an isolated and independent system but it is affected by the interaction and exchange of energy with the hydrosphere, the lithosphere and the biosphere. In particular it is not possible to understand the mechanisms governing the behaviour of the atmosphere without studying its relation with the oceans.
The oceans with their enormous volumes of water, form an immense “heat container” that stores very large quantities of thermal energy absorbed from solar radiation. Unlike the ground that returns most of the energy it receives immediately, water has a great thermal inertia, therefore it is able to store large quantities of heat that are then released slowly and returned to the atmosphere. Through the sea and ocean currents, thermal energy is redistributed from the Equatorial zones where there is an excess of heat, to the Polar regions where , on the contrary, there is a “deficit” of energy. Ocean circulation therefore has a very large influence on the distribution of atmospheric circulation cells on a planetary scale, besides, naturally, on the exchanges on a local level. The position of the high and low pressure cells also depends on the large ocean currents system. The transfer of thermal energy carried out by these, in fact, can modify the climate of entire regions. An example is the already mentioned case of the Gulf Current on the climate in Northern Europe, or the contrary case of the cold Humboldt current that touches the coasts of Ecuador and Peru.
Observing the circuits of the principal ocean currents and the atmospheric circulation cells, it can be noted that there is a certain similitude, as if the first mirrors the second or vice versa.
The role of oceans is also important in the carbon dioxide cycle, of which oceans are a large “depot”, that subtract it from the atmosphere.

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