Wednesday, August 8, 2018

A Word About Ocean Currents – Part II

Continued from the previous post, regarding additional information on the ocean currents and how this leads us to know and understand how Lehi reached the Land of Promise and where that land was located)
    It should also be noted, that the seashore along Salalah has very strong ocean currents and the limestone outcroppings and cliffs steep drastically and the underwater currents are considered unsafe even for experienced swimmers. This coastal turmoil is what Nephi’s ship would have entered as it cleared the inlet of Khor Rori and moved into the Sea of Arabia.
Nephi’s ship would have left the calm waters of the inlet at Khor Rori and entered the difficult and turbulent subsurface waters of the Sea of Arabia; however, with the two cliffs on either side of the entrance, the waters out of the channel were less active and would have been easier negotiated, even more an inexperienced crew

Since there are very limited currents moving directly off the southern Arabian coast, it would seem that Nephi had little choice as to what direction his ship went since the vessel would have gone, as any drift voyage would, in the direction the winds and ocean currents took it. And not just any current, but the current the ship first entered.
    Along this line, it is always interesting that people will hold to their own opinions irrespective of the facts involved. When Nephi left the inlet along the shore and entered the Sea of Arabia, his ship would have entered a single ocean current. Depending upon the time of the year, this wind and current (monsoon southwest or northeast), would have filled his ship’s sails and driven the vessel in the direction it blew. At the same time, the current moving past the shore would have pulled his vessel into its stream, which is for both winds and current, moving toward the southwest six months of the year, or toward the northeast the other six months of the year.
The first current encountered is a weak coastal current that flows from west to east along the shoreline toward Pakistan and India ; the outer current of this system is a stronger current that flows from east to west and toward Somalia in North Africa

To make sure this is clear, a monsoon (a word derived from the Arabic "mausam," meaning "season"), is generally defined as a seasonal sub-tropical reversal of the direction of winds along the shores of the Indian Ocean. Thus, a monsoon wind in the winter, when the land is colder than the sea, establishing a pressure gradient from land to sea, blows over the subcontinent from the northeast toward the southwest as well as over southern Arabia. This causes the winds to blow over the Indian subcontinent toward the Indian Ocean in a northeasterly direction (northeast monsoon) meaning the wind blew out of the northeast toward the southwest. The other six months is the “reversal,” that is the summer monsoon, or “Southwest Monsoon,” when the winds blow out of the southwest toward the northeast, and across southern Arabia and the subcontinent of India, causing the Khareef season in the former and devastating torrential downpours and severe storms in the latter.
     Thus, while Lehi would have landed where the Liahona pointed, the instrument pointed where the Lord directed it—where the winds and currents he established flowed. Thus Lehi’s course was restricted to those winds and currents available to them throughout their voyage. To think otherwise is to reject the very purpose of the winds and currents the Lord established as he organized the world. Consequently, He sent Lehi overland to that location where the winds and currents the Lord established would propel Nephi’s ship to the Land of Promise.
Left: The Somalia Current flowing north and east; Right: The Somalia Current reversal, flowing south

Thus, this current for six months of the year during the winter, sends a vessel launching from Oman toward the southwest, or the general area of the North African coast of present day Somalia. While some cite the North Indian Ocean Gyre, a weak circuitous current moving clockwise toward the Maldives southwest of the tip of India, south of present day Sri Lanka, south of the Bay of Bengal and down the west coast of Sumatra where it curves back to head west toward Africa in its circuitous route. This Gyre is also affected by the phenomena called the Ekman Transport—which is also a factor in the circulation of ocean gyres. Ekman transport causes water to flow toward the center of the gyre in all locations, creating a sloped sea-surface, and initiating geostrophic flow (Curt Collins, et al. “The Influence of Wind on HF Radar Surface Current Forecasts,” Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, December 2008, p65).
    Norwegian oceanographer and meteorologist Harald U. Sverdrup applied the Ekman transport while including pressure gradient forces to develop a theory for this, called the Sverdrup balance, or Sverdrup relation, which is a relationship between the wind stress exerted on the surface of the open ocean and the vertically integrated meridional (north-south) transport of ocean water.
    Aside from the oscillatory motions associated with tidal flow, there are two primary causes of large scale flow in the ocean: (1) thermohaline processes, which induce motion by introducing changes at the surface in temperature and salinity and therefore in seawater density, and (2) wind forcing. According to Svendrup, of the two, the wind is by far the most important. After making the assumption that frictional dissipation is negligible, Sverdrup obtained the simple result that the meridional mass transport (the Sverdrup transport) is proportional to the curl of the wind stress, which is known as the Sverdrup relation;
    Now far to the west of this gyre, is the Somalia Current which hugs the coast of Africa moving northward from June to September, then reversing itself to flow south from November to February.
Left: The Indian Ocean gyres, the one north of the Equator is considered a weak current; on the other hand, the one south of the Equator is a strong gyre current; Right: Dark Blue Arrows, shows the Winter Monsoon, blowing from the northeast toward the southwest; Light Blue Arrow, shows Lehi’s course skirting around the North Indian Ocean Gyre and within the Somalia Current; Purple Arrow: Shows Lehi’s course picking up the northern, west-flowing arm of the South Indian Ocean Gyre (and around toward the southeast to pick up the Southern Ocean heading south of Australia and out across the Pacific Ocean

What is important and the point of this article, which many of our regular readers will undoubtedly feel is overkill, is the ongoing insistence by so many theorists and uninformed members, is that 1) The Lord organized the world, and in so doing, created the winds and ocean currents that move around and upon the planet, 2) Those winds and currents, are cohesive streams of seawater that circulate through the ocean,  have existed since the time of the finalization of the continental locations, and are constant, driven and influenced by such things as wind, water density, temperature, salinity variations, gravity and physics such as the Earth’s rotational spin, gravitation, the eastward rotation of the Earth, location of the Earth’s axis, movements called the Coriolis Effect and the Ekman Transport, and 3) Knowing this, and initially establishing this, the Lord led Lehi through the wilderness and across the desert to the one location where these currents would take the ship Nephi was to build across the “many waters” of the deep ocean to the landing site the Lord had in mind in the Western Hemisphere—the land He promised to Lehi, or Lehi’s Isle of Promise.
    There is no mystery about it, and the facts of the earth’s rotational mechanics cannot be violated—the Lord set them up, caused a wind to pass over the Earth (Genesis 8:1) and caused it to blow (Psalms 147:18), and the Lord used them for his purpose (Amos 4:13), to first get the Jaredites to the promised land (Ether 2:24), and then to get Lehi and his colony to the Land of Promise. Could He have picked them up and set them down without the ship being built and crossing the oceans? Of course. The Lord is not limited, but throughout history He has used those very mechanics of His creation to accomplish His objectives and to cause man to achieve the greatness of His creation, not by relieving man of challenge, but by making sure man faced challenges that he could conquer and learned to overcome them.
    Lehi reaching his Land of Promise was a major challenge: 8 years in the wilderness; 2 years building a ship; and many months at sea in totally unfamiliar surroundings, fraught with danger, brought Lehi and his party to his promised land. And in the process, Nephi rose from a young adult to a man of great achievements and capability, destined to establish a branch of the House of Israel in the Western Hemisphere.

1 comment:

  1. This is very important information. A few years ago we had a fellow that told us that garbage from Arabia ends up in India and eventually Malaysia where he said the Nephites settled. I told him he wasn't considering the wind and the fact they were sailing. Garbage is far different than a sailing ship. So rather than this information being overkill, it is very important. It really renders the other models as impossible.