Skip to main content
Select Source:

Ekman spiral

Ekman spiral A theoretical model which explains the currents that would result from a steady wind blowing over an ocean of unlimited depth and extent, which was proposed by the Swedish oceanographer Vagn Walfrid Ekman (1874–1954). In the northern hemisphere, the surface layer of the water would flow at an angle of 45° to the right of the wind direction. Water at increasing depths would flow in directions more to the right, until, at a depth known as the Ekman depth, the water would move in a direction opposite to that of the wind. The Ekman depth varies with latitude but is of the order of 100 m in mid-latitudes. The velocity of the water flow decreases with depth throughout the spiral. In the northern hemisphere, the net water transport is at 90° to the right of the wind direction, and is known as the Ekman transport.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Ekman spiral." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 May. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Ekman spiral." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 22, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/ekman-spiral-0

"Ekman spiral." A Dictionary of Ecology. . Retrieved May 22, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/ekman-spiral-0

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.

Ekman spiral

Ekman spiral Theoretical model to explain the currents that would result from a steady wind blowing over an ocean of unlimited depth and extent. In the northern hemisphere the surface layer of the water would flow at an angle of 45° to the right of the wind direction. Water at increasing depths would flow in directions more to the right, until, at a depth known as the Ekman depth, the water would move in a direction opposite to that of the wind. The Ekman depth varies with latitude but is of the order of 100 m in mid-latitudes. The velocity of the water flow decreases with depth throughout the spiral. In the northern hemisphere, the net water transport is at 90° to the right of the wind direction, and is known as the Ekman transport.

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Ekman spiral." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. 22 May. 2018 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Ekman spiral." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Encyclopedia.com. (May 22, 2018). http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/ekman-spiral

"Ekman spiral." A Dictionary of Earth Sciences. . Retrieved May 22, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/science/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/ekman-spiral

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.