Smith, Robert L. College of Oceanography, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon.
Last reviewed:December 2019
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The phenomenon or process involving the ascending motion of water in the ocean. Vertical motions are an integral part of ocean circulation, but they are a thousand to a million times smaller than the horizontal currents. Vertical motions are inhibited by the density stratification of the ocean because with increasing depth, as the temperature decreases, the density increases and energy must be expended to displace water vertically. The ocean is also stratified in other properties; for example, nutrient concentration generally increases with depth. Thus even weak vertical flow may cause a significant effect by advecting nutrients to a new level. See also: Geophysical fluid dynamics
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