Plate Tectonics And Ocean Currents Influence Climate Change

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How do Plate Tectonics and Ocean Currents Influence Climate Change?

Two of the earth's biggest structures are our oceans and continents, which sit on tectonic plates. The interactions between tectonic plates and oceans are one big influence that can determine the earth’s climate and as a result of that can contribute to climate change.

The arrangements of the continents have a strong effect on the earth's climate. Where a continent is on the earth can determine regional climates, such as if a location is arid, cold etc. When plates move, they can also convert locations from one climate to another.
Movement of tectonic plates can generate many different climatic events, that can either increase or decrease global temperatures. 1

One of the biggest tectonic events that has an effect on the earth climate is volcanic activity. As Stoker (2007)1 states:
“There is no doubt that the …show more content…

Ocean currents are continuous movements of seawater that can transport cool or warm water, as well as Carbon Dioxide. When tectonic plates move they can open and close oceanic gateways that link to major ocean basins, controlling the global circulation of ocean currents, which can cause a shift in the transportation of heat and salt from the equator to polar regions.
Transportation of warm water is balanced by cold water that sinks at high latitudes and moves the currents back toward the equator. This process (Thermohaline Flow) helps to regulate global heat. Any change in the Thermohaline Flow due to tectonic activity of any sort can affect the distribution of precipitation, ice, temperature and vegetation on earth. 3

The ocean is crucial to heating the planet, as the majority of the sun’s radiation is absorbed by the ocean. The oceans currents help distribute that heat.

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