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How Current is Your Current?



How Current is Your Current?
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 3 to 4
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   5.26

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    convection, knowing, therefore, lies, axis, equator, cooler, underneath, faster, however, coast, surface, against, radio, above, sounds
     content words:    Atlantic Ocean, Arctic Ocean, Indian Ocean, Pacific Ocean, South Poles, Gulf Stream, United States, Great Britain, North Pole


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How Current is Your Current?
By Trista L. Pollard
  

1     "It moves to its own music. It doesn't need a radio to rock and roll. Ladies and gentlemen, I present the earth's oceans!" It is hard to imagine a huge body of water dancing to the sounds of nature. However, the water in the earth's oceans is always moving.
 
2     The earth's four main oceans are the Atlantic Ocean, the Arctic Ocean, the Indian Ocean, and the Pacific Ocean. All four oceans are connected. Currents, which are rivers of water, move through these oceans. There is water that surrounds these currents. The currents move at different speeds through the ocean and on the surface of the ocean. They also have different temperatures and densities than the water that is around them. Knowing how currents move has helped sailors for hundreds of years. When sailors' boats moved against the current, their boats were slowed down. When they sailed with the current, their boats or ships moved faster. So, what causes these currents to move in the ocean?
 
3     Think about the globe in your classroom. This is a model of the earth. A rod or metal stick goes through the center of the globe. Therefore, the globe is able to spin when it is turned. The earth rotates or spins on its axis which is an imaginary pole that runs through its center. It is the movement of the earth that causes currents to flow in the ocean. Wind also helps to move ocean currents. The sun heats the earth. As the air heats up, it expands and becomes less dense. The warm air rises, and cool air flows underneath the warm air. The cool air now becomes warm, and the process starts all over again. This is called convection. Convection helps to produce the air currents that move ocean currents.

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