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Ocean currents and water masses on marine life and coastal environment - UPSC 2020

Updated on 15 February 2020
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UPSC & State PSC 2021
6 min read 13 views
Updated on 15 February 2020


In the syllabus of UPSC 2020 civil services exam one topic which requires the attention of the candidates is the impact of ocean currents and water masses on marine life and coastal environment and as to how they differ from one another.


The UPSC 2020 syllabus comprises of such topics in order to test the candidates in all the aspects to know their extent of knowledge regarding the environment.


The main reason for the drastic change in the environment and climate on earth is due to the change of the ocean currents and the water masses. Ocean currents are powerful physical forces, as they move heat and water around the globe.

There are certain factors which explain as to how the ocean currents and water masses affect the marine life and coastal environment, these are stated under:


  1. The formation of sea ices takes place due to the water masses and the ocean currents. On the other hand, there are certain warm ocean currents which prevent the formation of these sea ice even if the region is close to the poles. Example: Due to the warm currents, the United Kingdom and Norway ports do not form sea ice despite being located in the higher latitudes.


  1. The life of the marine organisms is directly dependent on the ocean currents. These currents are responsible for the rise or fall in their number on the coast. The warm and cold currents are rich in oxygen content and therefore they are responsible for marine productivity to a great extent. The regions where maximum fishing activities and other activities related to marine life take place are known to be the most productive regions. Example: Crab fishing at the Elbe fishing.


  1. Certain regions experience different degrees of temperature like low and high temperature and this affects the coastal regions all around the globe. The climate conditions differ in all the regions depending on its temperature and thus it has a great effect on its coastal environment and its marine ecosystem.


  1. The amount of rainfall in an area is directly linked to its ocean currents. The ocean currents and water masses influence the rainfall in a certain region depending on various factors such as warm and cold currents. All such Geographical regions or coasts which have cold ocean currents result in receiving less amount of rainfall. Example: African coasts, has cold currents and as a result, it receives less amount of rainfall forming the Sahara Desert.


The ocean currents are driven by the tides, winds and water

density. Coriolis Effect influences the Ocean currents which results from the rotation of the Earth.


Since 70% of the Earth is made up of water, the oceans have a huge effect on marine life as well as on the regions. The ocean currents have a great effect on the climate and thus the North Atlantic Drift keeps England warmer.


The growth of plankton increases where the warm and cold ocean currents meet resulting in the productivity of fishes to a large extent.



All The Best To All The UPSC 2020 Aspirants !

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