As a preamble to the description of the datasets on which the OTEC pre-assessment tool relies, this section briefly describes the main characteristics of ocean dynamics in tropical regions. This section does not aim to provide an exhaustive lecture in ocean dynamics, but rather to explain a number of aspects of ocean dynamics that participate in determining the ocean vertical temperature structure and may therefore be relevant to a suitability assessment for OTEC.
We focus mostly on tropical regions, merely because regions that are likely suitable for OTEC can only be found in the tropics. This results from the fact that a profitable OTEC system requires a temperature difference of at least 20°C between the warm and cold sources. In practice, such temperature differences between the subsurface (30 m) and the depths (700-1000 m) are only found in the tropics. This will be explained further in the pages in the menu on the left.