When strong winds blow parallel to a coastline, it causes the deep, cold water to come to the surface. There are certain ‘frictional stresses’ that occur between different layers of ocean water so when strong winds blow, it causes the friction to increase and therefore moves the different layers around. In the case of upwelling, it causes the lower, colder water to move upwards towards the surface, replacing the shallower water with what ends up being more nutrient rich cold water. This is a good thing because the nutrients that the cold water brings with it when it gets moved by the winds help the sometimes stagnant surface water and provide new life, supporting the fish and other sea organisms that live closer to the surface.
Areas of upwelling are important because though they cover very small percentages of the ocean, they create environments that produce 20% of the worlds fish. Drilling in these areas is dangerous because of this. Since these areas are so important to oceans as a whole, this means that toxins and spills that result from drilling here could have disastrous effects all the way through the ecosystem.
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