Rip currents form when waves break near the shoreline, piling up water between the breaking waves and the beach. One of the ways this water returns to sea is to form a rip current, a narrow stream of water moving swiftly away from shore, often perpendicular to the shoreline.
What is a rip current and what causes it?
Causes and occurrence. A rip current forms because wind and breaking waves push surface water towards the land, and this causes a slight rise in the water level along the shore. This excess water will tend to flow back to the open water via the route of least resistance.
What is an undercurrent in the ocean?
Undercurrents are currents of water that flow under the surface of a large water body; they are like a small stream or river within the larger water body itself. They are a natural part of the flow of lakes and oceans and are essential to maintaining a balance of heat and nutrients in the water.