Ocean Depths & Currents Around Lanzarote
The worlds ocean is a vast body of saltwater that covers over 70% of the Earth. It plays a crucial role in regulating the planet's climate and is home to a diverse array of ecosystems and of course marine life. One of the essential aspects of the ocean is the worlds ocean currents.
Ocean currents are continuous, directed movements of seawater that flow in complex patterns throughout the global ocean. These currents are driven by a combination of factors, including:
Wind: Wind-driven currents are among the most significant and well-known types of ocean currents. Surface winds blowing over the ocean create friction, which drags the water's surface along, causing currents. You may have noticed that the winds around Lanzarote and the other Canary Islands can be strong, particularly during the summer months due to trade winds, obviously creating a perfect sailing location.
Temperature and Density: Differences in water temperature and salinity (saltiness) lead to variations in water density. Heavier, colder, and saltier water tends to sink, while lighter, warmer, and less salty water rises. This creates vertical movements, called upwelling and downwelling, which can influence horizontal currents.
Coriolis Effect: The rotation of the Earth causes a deflection of moving objects (like currents and winds) relative to the Earth's surface. This effect influences the direction of ocean currents in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.
Continental Shelf and Underwater Topography: The shape and depth of the ocean floor influence the path and speed of ocean currents.
Lanzarote, an island located in the Canary Islands archipelago (part of Spain) is situated in the Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of Africa. The ocean currents around the island are affected by the general circulation patterns in the Atlantic Ocean, but they can also be influenced by local factors.
Canary Current: The Canary Current is a cold current that flows southward along the northwest coast of Africa, from northwest to southeast. It is part of the North Atlantic subtropical gyre. This current passes close to the eastern side of Lanzarote, bringing colder waters along the coast.
North Atlantic Drift: The North Atlantic Drift, an extension of the Gulf Stream, also influences the waters around Lanzarote. It brings warm, tropical waters from the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea towards the northeast, moderating the temperatures and creating a more temperate climate in the region.
Upwelling: The underwater topography and prevailing winds can cause upwelling off the coast of Lanzarote. Upwelling occurs when cold, nutrient-rich water from deeper layers rises to the surface. This can enhance the productivity of marine ecosystems in the area, making it attractive to marine life and fishermen.
As for the depths around Lanzarote, the underwater topography can vary significantly. The island is part of a volcanic archipelago, and its coastline features a mix of cliffs, rocky shores, and some sandy beaches. As we move away from the coast, the ocean floor descends into deeper waters.
The specific depths will depend on the location around the island. In some areas, the ocean depths can reach hundreds or even thousands of meters, while in other places, the waters might be relatively shallow, especially near the shore and along the continental shelf.
Overall, the ocean currents and depths around Lanzarote contribute to the island's unique marine environment, attracting various marine species and making it a popular destination for divers, boat trips and sailing enthusiasts. We have also noticed the increase in dolphins around the south of Lanzarote, Dolphin tours as well as other ocean activities are now a massive tourist request.