Cold Water Upwelling

  • Released Friday, December 12, 2003
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Deep Water Feast: Upwellings Bring Nutrients to The Surface- Large phytoplankton blooms tend to coincide with natural phenomena that drive cold, nutrient-rich water to the surface. The process is called upwelling. Here's what's happening: winds coming off principal land masses push surface layers of water away from the shore. Into the resulting wind-driven void deeper water underneath the surface layers rushes in toward the coast, bringing with it nutrients for life to bloom. It's different on the equator. There, water currents on either side of the hemispheric dividing line are generally moving in opposite directions — due to planetary rotation and the Coriolis effect. As those currents rush past each other they 'peel back' the surface of the ocean, creating a void for deeper water to rush into and take its place.


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NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab.

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This page was originally published on Friday, December 12, 2003.
This page was last updated on Wednesday, May 3, 2023 at 1:56 PM EDT.