Oceanography
Overview
 
Oceanography also called oceanology or marine science, is the branch of Earth science
Earth science
Earth science is an all-embracing term for the sciences related to the planet Earth. It is arguably a special case in planetary science, the Earth being the only known life-bearing planet. There are both reductionist and holistic approaches to Earth sciences...

 that studies the ocean. It covers a wide range of topics, including marine organisms and ecosystem
Ecosystem
An ecosystem is a biological environment consisting of all the organisms living in a particular area, as well as all the nonliving , physical components of the environment with which the organisms interact, such as air, soil, water and sunlight....

 dynamics; ocean currents, waves
WAVES
The WAVES were a World War II-era division of the U.S. Navy that consisted entirely of women. The name of this group is an acronym for "Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service" ; the word "emergency" implied that the acceptance of women was due to the unusual circumstances of the war and...

, and geophysical fluid dynamics; plate tectonics
Plate tectonics
Plate tectonics is a scientific theory that describes the large scale motions of Earth's lithosphere...

 and the geology of the sea floor; and flux
Flux
In the various subfields of physics, there exist two common usages of the term flux, both with rigorous mathematical frameworks.* In the study of transport phenomena , flux is defined as flow per unit area, where flow is the movement of some quantity per time...

es of various chemical substances and physical properties within the ocean and across its boundaries. These diverse topics reflect multiple disciplines that oceanographers blend to further knowledge of the world ocean and understanding of processes within it: biology
Biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

, chemistry
Chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

, geology
Geology
Geology is the science comprising the study of solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which it evolves. Geology gives insight into the history of the Earth, as it provides the primary evidence for plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, and past climates...

, meteorology
Meteorology
Meteorology is the interdisciplinary scientific study of the atmosphere. Studies in the field stretch back millennia, though significant progress in meteorology did not occur until the 18th century. The 19th century saw breakthroughs occur after observing networks developed across several countries...

, and physics
Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

 as well as geography
Geography
Geography is the science that studies the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of Earth. A literal translation would be "to describe or write about the Earth". The first person to use the word "geography" was Eratosthenes...

.
Humans first acquired knowledge of the waves and currents of the seas and oceans in pre-historic times.
Encyclopedia
Oceanography also called oceanology or marine science, is the branch of Earth science
Earth science
Earth science is an all-embracing term for the sciences related to the planet Earth. It is arguably a special case in planetary science, the Earth being the only known life-bearing planet. There are both reductionist and holistic approaches to Earth sciences...

 that studies the ocean. It covers a wide range of topics, including marine organisms and ecosystem
Ecosystem
An ecosystem is a biological environment consisting of all the organisms living in a particular area, as well as all the nonliving , physical components of the environment with which the organisms interact, such as air, soil, water and sunlight....

 dynamics; ocean currents, waves
WAVES
The WAVES were a World War II-era division of the U.S. Navy that consisted entirely of women. The name of this group is an acronym for "Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service" ; the word "emergency" implied that the acceptance of women was due to the unusual circumstances of the war and...

, and geophysical fluid dynamics; plate tectonics
Plate tectonics
Plate tectonics is a scientific theory that describes the large scale motions of Earth's lithosphere...

 and the geology of the sea floor; and flux
Flux
In the various subfields of physics, there exist two common usages of the term flux, both with rigorous mathematical frameworks.* In the study of transport phenomena , flux is defined as flow per unit area, where flow is the movement of some quantity per time...

es of various chemical substances and physical properties within the ocean and across its boundaries. These diverse topics reflect multiple disciplines that oceanographers blend to further knowledge of the world ocean and understanding of processes within it: biology
Biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

, chemistry
Chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

, geology
Geology
Geology is the science comprising the study of solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which it evolves. Geology gives insight into the history of the Earth, as it provides the primary evidence for plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, and past climates...

, meteorology
Meteorology
Meteorology is the interdisciplinary scientific study of the atmosphere. Studies in the field stretch back millennia, though significant progress in meteorology did not occur until the 18th century. The 19th century saw breakthroughs occur after observing networks developed across several countries...

, and physics
Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

 as well as geography
Geography
Geography is the science that studies the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of Earth. A literal translation would be "to describe or write about the Earth". The first person to use the word "geography" was Eratosthenes...

.

History

Humans first acquired knowledge of the waves and currents of the seas and oceans in pre-historic times. Observations on tides are recorded by Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

 and Strabo
Strabo
Strabo, also written Strabon was a Greek historian, geographer and philosopher.-Life:Strabo was born to an affluent family from Amaseia in Pontus , a city which he said was situated the approximate equivalent of 75 km from the Black Sea...

. Early modern exploration of the oceans was primarily for cartography and mainly limited to its surfaces and of the creatures that fishermen brought up in nets, though depth soundings by lead line were taken.

Although Juan Ponce de León
Juan Ponce de León
Juan Ponce de León was a Spanish explorer. He became the first Governor of Puerto Rico by appointment of the Spanish crown. He led the first European expedition to Florida, which he named...

 in 1513 first identified the Gulf Stream
Gulf Stream
The Gulf Stream, together with its northern extension towards Europe, the North Atlantic Drift, is a powerful, warm, and swift Atlantic ocean current that originates at the tip of Florida, and follows the eastern coastlines of the United States and Newfoundland before crossing the Atlantic Ocean...

, and the current was well-known to mariners, Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin
Dr. Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. A noted polymath, Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, musician, inventor, satirist, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat...

 made the first scientific study of it and gave it its name. Franklin measured water temperatures during several Atlantic crossings and correctly explained the Gulf Stream's cause. Franklin and Timothy Folger printed the first map of the Gulf Stream in 1769-1770.

When Louis Antoine de Bougainville
Louis Antoine de Bougainville
Louis-Antoine, Comte de Bougainville was a French admiral and explorer. A contemporary of James Cook, he took part in the French and Indian War and the unsuccessful French attempt to defend Canada from Britain...

, who voyaged between 1766 and 1769, and James Cook
James Cook
Captain James Cook, FRS, RN was a British explorer, navigator and cartographer who ultimately rose to the rank of captain in the Royal Navy...

, who voyaged from 1768 to 1779, carried out their explorations in the South Pacific
Pacific Ocean
The Pacific Ocean is the largest of the Earth's oceanic divisions. It extends from the Arctic in the north to the Southern Ocean in the south, bounded by Asia and Australia in the west, and the Americas in the east.At 165.2 million square kilometres in area, this largest division of the World...

, information on the oceans themselves formed part of the reports. James Rennell
James Rennell
Major James Rennell, FRS was an English geographer, historian and a pioneer of oceanography.-Early life:Rennell was born near Chudleigh in Devon...

 wrote the first scientific textbooks about currents in the Atlantic
Atlantic Ocean
The Atlantic Ocean is the second-largest of the world's oceanic divisions. With a total area of about , it covers approximately 20% of the Earth's surface and about 26% of its water surface area...

 and Indian
Indian Ocean
The Indian Ocean is the third largest of the world's oceanic divisions, covering approximately 20% of the water on the Earth's surface. It is bounded on the north by the Indian Subcontinent and Arabian Peninsula ; on the west by eastern Africa; on the east by Indochina, the Sunda Islands, and...

 oceans during the late 18th and at the beginning of 19th century. Sir James Clark Ross
James Clark Ross
Sir James Clark Ross , was a British naval officer and explorer. He explored the Arctic with his uncle Sir John Ross and Sir William Parry, and later led his own expedition to Antarctica.-Arctic explorer:...

 took the first modern sounding in deep sea in 1840, and Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin FRS was an English naturalist. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.He published his theory...

 published a paper on reef
Reef
In nautical terminology, a reef is a rock, sandbar, or other feature lying beneath the surface of the water ....

s and the formation of atoll
Atoll
An atoll is a coral island that encircles a lagoon partially or completely.- Usage :The word atoll comes from the Dhivehi word atholhu OED...

s as a result of the second voyage of HMS Beagle
HMS Beagle
HMS Beagle was a Cherokee-class 10-gun brig-sloop of the Royal Navy. She was launched on 11 May 1820 from the Woolwich Dockyard on the River Thames, at a cost of £7,803. In July of that year she took part in a fleet review celebrating the coronation of King George IV of the United Kingdom in which...

 in 1831-6. Robert FitzRoy
Robert FitzRoy
Vice-Admiral Robert FitzRoy RN achieved lasting fame as the captain of HMS Beagle during Charles Darwin's famous voyage, and as a pioneering meteorologist who made accurate weather forecasting a reality...

 published a report in four volumes of the three voyages of the Beagle. In 1841–1842 Edward Forbes
Edward Forbes
Professor Edward Forbes FRS, FGS was a Manx naturalist.-Early years:Forbes was born at Douglas, in the Isle of Man. While still a child, when not engaged in reading, or in the writing of verses and drawing of caricatures, he occupied himself with the collecting of insects, shells, minerals,...

 undertook dredging in the Aegean Sea
Aegean Sea
The Aegean Sea[p] is an elongated embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between the southern Balkan and Anatolian peninsulas, i.e., between the mainlands of Greece and Turkey. In the north, it is connected to the Marmara Sea and Black Sea by the Dardanelles and Bosporus...

 that founded marine ecology.

As first superintendent of the United States Naval Observatory
United States Naval Observatory
The United States Naval Observatory is one of the oldest scientific agencies in the United States, with a primary mission to produce Positioning, Navigation, and Timing for the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Department of Defense...

 (1842–1861) Matthew Fontaine Maury
Matthew Fontaine Maury
Matthew Fontaine Maury , United States Navy was an American astronomer, historian, oceanographer, meteorologist, cartographer, author, geologist, and educator....

 devoted his time to the study of marine meteorology, navigation, and charting prevailing winds and currents. His Physical Geography of the Sea, 1855 was the first textbook of oceanography. Many nations sent oceanographic observations to Maury at the Naval Observatory, where he and his colleagues evaluated the information and gave the results worldwide distribution.

The steep slope beyond the continental shelves
Continental shelf
The continental shelf is the extended perimeter of each continent and associated coastal plain. Much of the shelf was exposed during glacial periods, but is now submerged under relatively shallow seas and gulfs, and was similarly submerged during other interglacial periods. The continental margin,...

 was discovered in 1849. The first successful laying of transatlantic telegraph cable
Transatlantic telegraph cable
The transatlantic telegraph cable was the first cable used for telegraph communications laid across the floor of the Atlantic Ocean. It crossed from , Foilhommerum Bay, Valentia Island, in western Ireland to Heart's Content in eastern Newfoundland. The transatlantic cable connected North America...

 in August 1858 confirmed the presence of an underwater "telegraphic plateau" mid-ocean ridge
Mid-ocean ridge
A mid-ocean ridge is a general term for an underwater mountain system that consists of various mountain ranges , typically having a valley known as a rift running along its spine, formed by plate tectonics. This type of oceanic ridge is characteristic of what is known as an oceanic spreading...

. After the middle of the 19th century, scientific societies were processing a flood of new terrestrial botanical and zoological information.

In 1871, under the recommendations of the Royal Society
Royal Society
The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, known simply as the Royal Society, is a learned society for science, and is possibly the oldest such society in existence. Founded in November 1660, it was granted a Royal Charter by King Charles II as the "Royal Society of London"...

 of London, the British government sponsored an expedition to explore world's oceans and conduct scientific investigations. Under that sponsorship the Scots
Scottish people
The Scottish people , or Scots, are a nation and ethnic group native to Scotland. Historically they emerged from an amalgamation of the Picts and Gaels, incorporating neighbouring Britons to the south as well as invading Germanic peoples such as the Anglo-Saxons and the Norse.In modern use,...

 Charles Wyville Thompson and Sir John Murray
John Murray (oceanographer)
Sir John Murray KCB FRS FRSE FRSGS was a pioneering Scottish oceanographer, marine biologist and limnologist.-Early life:...

 launched the Challenger expedition
Challenger expedition
The Challenger expedition of 1872–76 was a scientific exercise that made many discoveries to lay the foundation of oceanography. The expedition was named after the mother vessel, HMS Challenger....

 (1872–1876). The results of this were published in 50 volumes covering biological, physical and geological aspects. 4417 new species were discovered.

Other Europe
Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...

an and American
Americas
The Americas, or America , are lands in the Western hemisphere, also known as the New World. In English, the plural form the Americas is often used to refer to the landmasses of North America and South America with their associated islands and regions, while the singular form America is primarily...

 nations also sent out scientific expeditions (as did private individuals and institutions). The first purpose built oceanographic ship, the "Albatros" was built in 1882. The four-month 1910 North Atlantic expedition headed by Sir John Murray
John Murray (oceanographer)
Sir John Murray KCB FRS FRSE FRSGS was a pioneering Scottish oceanographer, marine biologist and limnologist.-Early life:...

 and Johan Hjort
Johan Hjort
Johan Hjort FRS was a Norwegian fisheries scientist, marine zoologist, and oceanographer. He was among the most prominent and influential marine zoologists of his time.- The early years :...

 was at that time the most ambitious research oceanographic and marine zoological project ever, and led to the classic 1912 book The Depths of the Ocean.

Oceanographic institutes dedicated to the study of oceanography were founded. In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, these included the Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla, California, is one of the oldest and largest centers for ocean and earth science research, graduate training, and public service in the world...

 in 1892, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is a private, nonprofit research and higher education facility dedicated to the study of all aspects of marine science and engineering and to the education of marine researchers. Established in 1930, it is the largest independent oceanographic research...

 in 1930, Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Virginia Institute of Marine Science
The Virginia Institute of Marine Science is one of the oldest and largest schools of oceanographyfocused on coastal ocean and estuarine science in the United States....

 in 1938, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
The Lamont–Doherty Earth Observatory is a research unit of Columbia University located on a campus in Palisades, N.Y., north of Manhattan on the Hudson River.- History :...

 at Columbia University
Columbia University
Columbia University in the City of New York is a private, Ivy League university in Manhattan, New York City. Columbia is the oldest institution of higher learning in the state of New York, the fifth oldest in the United States, and one of the country's nine Colonial Colleges founded before the...

, and the School of Oceanography at University of Washington
University of Washington
University of Washington is a public research university, founded in 1861 in Seattle, Washington, United States. The UW is the largest university in the Northwest and the oldest public university on the West Coast. The university has three campuses, with its largest campus in the University...

. In Britain
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, there is a major research institution: National Oceanography Centre, Southampton
National Oceanography Centre, Southampton
The National Oceanography Centre, Southampton describes the integrated collaboration between the Southampton-based part of the Natural Environment Research Council’s National Oceanography Centre, and University of Southampton Ocean and Earth Science...

 which is the successor to the Institute of Oceanography. In Australia
Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research
CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research
CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research is one of the currently c.20 Research Divisions of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia's largest government-supported research agency.-About CMAR:...

, known as CMAR, is a leading center. In 1921 the International Hydrographic Bureau (IHB) was formed in Monaco
Monaco
Monaco , officially the Principality of Monaco , is a sovereign city state on the French Riviera. It is bordered on three sides by its neighbour, France, and its centre is about from Italy. Its area is with a population of 35,986 as of 2011 and is the most densely populated country in the...

.

In 1893, Fridtjof Nansen
Fridtjof Nansen
Fridtjof Wedel-Jarlsberg Nansen was a Norwegian explorer, scientist, diplomat, humanitarian and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. In his youth a champion skier and ice skater, he led the team that made the first crossing of the Greenland interior in 1888, and won international fame after reaching a...

 allowed his ship "Fram" to be frozen in the Arctic ice. As a result he was able to obtain oceanographic data as well as meteorological and astronomical data. The first international organization of oceanography was created in 1902 as the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea
International Council for the Exploration of the Sea
The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea is the world’s oldest intergovernmental science organization. ICES is headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, where its multinational Secretariat staff of 51 provide scientific, administrative and secretarial support to the ICES community...

.

The first acoustic measurement of sea depth was made in 1914. Between 1925 and 1927 the "Meteor" expedition gathered 70,000 ocean depth measurements using an echo sounder, surveying the Mid atlantic ridge. The Great Global Rift, running along the Mid Atlantic Ridge, was discovered by Maurice Ewing
Maurice Ewing
William Maurice "Doc" Ewing was an American geophysicist and oceanographer.Ewing has been described as a pioneering geophysicist who worked on the research of seismic reflection and refraction in ocean basins, ocean bottom photography, submarine sound transmission , deep sea coring of the ocean...

 and Bruce Heezen in 1953 while the mountain range under the Arctic was found in 1954 by the Arctic Institute of the USSR. The theory of seafloor spreading was developed in 1960 by Harry Hammond Hess
Harry Hammond Hess
Harry Hammond Hess was a geologist and United States Navy officer in World War II.Considered one of the "founding fathers" of the unifying theory of plate tectonics, Rear Admiral Harry Hammond Hess was born on May 24, 1906 in New York City...

. The Ocean Drilling Project started in 1966. Deep sea vents were discovered in 1977 by John Corlis and Robert Ballard
Robert Ballard
Robert Duane Ballard is a former United States Navy officer and a professor of oceanography at the University of Rhode Island who is most noted for his work in underwater archaeology. He is most famous for the discoveries of the wrecks of the RMS Titanic in 1985, the battleship Bismarck in 1989,...

 in the submersible "Alvin
DSV Alvin
Alvin is a manned deep-ocean research submersible owned by the United States Navy and operated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. The vehicle was built by General Mills' Electronics Group in the same factory used to manufacture breakfast cereal-producing...

".

In the 1950s, Auguste Piccard
Auguste Piccard
Auguste Antoine Piccard was a Swiss physicist, inventor and explorer.-Biography:Piccard and his twin brother Jean Felix were born in Basel, Switzerland...

 invented the bathyscaphe
Bathyscaphe
A bathyscaphe is a free-diving self-propelled deep-sea submersible, consisting of a crew cabin similar to a bathysphere, but suspended below a float rather than from a surface cable, as in the classic bathysphere design....

 and used the "Trieste
Bathyscaphe Trieste
The Trieste is a Swiss-designed, Italian-built deep-diving research bathyscaphe with a crew of two, which reached a record maximum depth of about , in the deepest known part of the Earth's oceans, the Challenger Deep, in the Mariana Trench near Guam, on January 23, 1960, crewed by Jacques Piccard ...

" to investigate the ocean's depths. The nuclear submarine Nautilus
USS Nautilus (SSN-571)
USS Nautilus is the world's first operational nuclear-powered submarine. She was the first vessel to complete a submerged transit beneath the North Pole on August 3, 1958...

 made the first journey under the ice to the North Pole in 1958. In 1962 there was the first deployment of FLIP (Floating Instrument Platform), a 355 foot spar buoy.

Then, in 1966, the U.S. Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 created a National Council for Marine Resources and Engineering Development. NOAA was put in charge of exploring and studying all aspects of Oceanography in the USA. It also enabled the National Science Foundation
National Science Foundation
The National Science Foundation is a United States government agency that supports fundamental research and education in all the non-medical fields of science and engineering. Its medical counterpart is the National Institutes of Health...

 to award Sea Grant College funding to multi-disciplinary researchers in the field of oceanography.

From the 1970s, there has been much emphasis on the application of large scale computers to oceanography to allow numerical predictions of ocean conditions and as a part of overall environmental change prediction. An oceanographic buoy array was established in the Pacific to allow prediction of El Niño events.

1990 saw the start of the World Ocean Circulation Experiment
World Ocean Circulation Experiment
The World Ocean Circulation Experiment was a component of the international World Climate Research Program, and aimed to establish the role of the World Ocean in the Earth's climate system...

 (WOCE) which continued until 2002. Geosat seafloor mapping data became available in 1995.

In 1942, Sverdrup and Fleming published "The Ocean" which was a major landmark. "The Sea" (in three volumes covering physical oceanography, seawater and geology) edited by M.N. Hill was published in 1962 while the "Encyclopedia of Oceanography" by Rhodes Fairbridge
Rhodes Fairbridge
Rhodes Whitmore Fairbridge was an Australian geologist and expert on climate change.Born in Pinjarra, Western Australia, Fairbridge graduated from Queen’s University in Ontario and earned his master’s degree from Oxford...

 was published in 1966.

Connection to the atmosphere

The study of the oceans is linked to understanding global climate changes, potential global warming
Global warming
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans and its projected continuation. In the last 100 years, Earth's average surface temperature increased by about with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades...

 and related biosphere concerns. The atmosphere and ocean are linked because of evaporation
Evaporation
Evaporation is a type of vaporization of a liquid that occurs only on the surface of a liquid. The other type of vaporization is boiling, which, instead, occurs on the entire mass of the liquid....

 and precipitation
Precipitation (meteorology)
In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation In meteorology, precipitation (also known as one of the classes of hydrometeors, which are atmospheric water phenomena is any product of the condensation of atmospheric water vapor that falls under gravity. The main forms of precipitation...

 as well as thermal flux (and solar insolation
Insolation
Insolation is a measure of solar radiation energy received on a given surface area in a given time. It is commonly expressed as average irradiance in watts per square meter or kilowatt-hours per square meter per day...

). Wind
Wind
Wind is the flow of gases on a large scale. On Earth, wind consists of the bulk movement of air. In outer space, solar wind is the movement of gases or charged particles from the sun through space, while planetary wind is the outgassing of light chemical elements from a planet's atmosphere into space...

 stress is a major driver of ocean currents while the ocean is a sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide
Carbon dioxide is a naturally occurring chemical compound composed of two oxygen atoms covalently bonded to a single carbon atom...

.

Branches

The study of oceanography is divided into branches:
  • Biological oceanography, or marine biology
    Marine biology
    Marine biology is the scientific study of organisms in the ocean or other marine or brackish bodies of water. Given that in biology many phyla, families and genera have some species that live in the sea and others that live on land, marine biology classifies species based on the environment rather...

    , is the study of the plants, animals and microbes of the oceans and their ecological
    Ecology
    Ecology is the scientific study of the relations that living organisms have with respect to each other and their natural environment. Variables of interest to ecologists include the composition, distribution, amount , number, and changing states of organisms within and among ecosystems...

     interaction with the ocean;
  • Chemical oceanography
    Chemical oceanography
    Chemical oceanography is the study of ocean chemistry: the behavior of the chemical elements within the Earth's oceans. The ocean is unique in that it contains - in greater or lesser quantities - nearly every element in the periodic table....

    , or marine chemistry
    Ocean chemistry
    Ocean chemistry, also known as marine chemistry, is influenced by turbidity currents, sediments, pH levels, atmoshperic constituents, metamorphic activity, and ecology...

    , is the study of the chemistry
    Chemistry
    Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

     of the ocean and its chemical interaction with the atmosphere;
  • Geological oceanography, or marine geology
    Marine geology
    Marine geology or geological oceanography involves geophysical, geochemical, sedimentological and paleontological investigations of the ocean floor and coastal margins...

    , is the study of the geology
    Geology
    Geology is the science comprising the study of solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which it evolves. Geology gives insight into the history of the Earth, as it provides the primary evidence for plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, and past climates...

     of the ocean floor including plate tectonics
    Plate tectonics
    Plate tectonics is a scientific theory that describes the large scale motions of Earth's lithosphere...

     and paleoceanography
    Paleoceanography
    Paleoceanography is the study of the history of the oceans in the geologic past with regard to circulation, chemistry, biology, geology and patterns of sedimentation.- Source of information :...

    ;
  • Physical oceanography
    Physical oceanography
    Physical oceanography is the study of physical conditions and physical processes within the ocean, especially the motions and physical properties of ocean waters.Physical oceanography is one of several sub-domains into which oceanography is divided...

    , or marine physics, studies the ocean's physical attributes including temperature-salinity structure, mixing, waves
    Ocean surface wave
    In fluid dynamics, wind waves or, more precisely, wind-generated waves are surface waves that occur on the free surface of oceans, seas, lakes, rivers, and canals or even on small puddles and ponds. They usually result from the wind blowing over a vast enough stretch of fluid surface. Waves in the...

    , internal waves, surface tide
    Tide
    Tides are the rise and fall of sea levels caused by the combined effects of the gravitational forces exerted by the moon and the sun and the rotation of the Earth....

    s, internal tides, and currents
    Ocean current
    An ocean current is a continuous, directed movement of ocean water generated by the forces acting upon this mean flow, such as breaking waves, wind, Coriolis effect, cabbeling, temperature and salinity differences and tides caused by the gravitational pull of the Moon and the Sun...

    .


These branches reflect the fact that many oceanographers are first trained in the exact sciences or mathematics
Mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

 and then focus on applying their interdisciplinary knowledge, skills and abilities to oceanography.

Data derived from the work of Oceanographers is used in marine engineering
Naval architecture
Naval architecture is an engineering discipline dealing with the design, construction, maintenance and operation of marine vessels and structures. Naval architecture involves basic and applied research, design, development, design evaluation and calculations during all stages of the life of a...

, in the design and building of oil platforms, ships, harbours, and other structures that allow us to use the ocean safely.

Oceanographic data management is the discipline ensuring that oceanographic data both past and present are available to researchers.

Related disciplines

  • Biogeochemistry
    Biogeochemistry
    Biogeochemistry is the scientific discipline that involves the study of the chemical, physical, geological, and biological processes and reactions that govern the composition of the natural environment...

  • Biogeography
    Biogeography
    Biogeography is the study of the distribution of species , organisms, and ecosystems in space and through geological time. Organisms and biological communities vary in a highly regular fashion along geographic gradients of latitude, elevation, isolation and habitat area...

  • Coastal geography
    Coastal geography
    Coastal geography is the study of the dynamic interface between the ocean and the land, incorporating both the physical geography and the human geography of the coast...

  • Environmental science
    Environmental science
    Environmental science is an interdisciplinary academic field that integrates physical and biological sciences, to the study of the environment, and the solution of environmental problems...

  • Geophysics
    Geophysics
    Geophysics is the physics of the Earth and its environment in space; also the study of the Earth using quantitative physical methods. The term geophysics sometimes refers only to the geological applications: Earth's shape; its gravitational and magnetic fields; its internal structure and...

  • Glaciology
    Glaciology
    Glaciology Glaciology Glaciology (from Middle French dialect (Franco-Provençal): glace, "ice"; or Latin: glacies, "frost, ice"; and Greek: λόγος, logos, "speech" lit...

  • Hydrography
    Hydrography
    Hydrography is the measurement of the depths, the tides and currents of a body of water and establishment of the sea, river or lake bed topography and morphology. Normally and historically for the purpose of charting a body of water for the safe navigation of shipping...

  • Hydrology
    Hydrology
    Hydrology is the study of the movement, distribution, and quality of water on Earth and other planets, including the hydrologic cycle, water resources and environmental watershed sustainability...

  • Limnology
    Limnology
    Limnology , also called freshwater science, is the study of inland waters. It is often regarded as a division of ecology or environmental science. It covers the biological, chemical, physical, geological, and other attributes of all inland waters...

  • Meteorology
    Meteorology
    Meteorology is the interdisciplinary scientific study of the atmosphere. Studies in the field stretch back millennia, though significant progress in meteorology did not occur until the 18th century. The 19th century saw breakthroughs occur after observing networks developed across several countries...

  • Physical geography
    Physical geography
    Physical geography is one of the two major subfields of geography. Physical geography is that branch of natural science which deals with the study of processes and patterns in the natural environment like the atmosphere, biosphere and geosphere, as opposed to the cultural or built environment, the...


See also

  • American Practical Navigator
  • Anoxic event
    Anoxic event
    Oceanic anoxic events or anoxic events occur when the Earth's oceans become completely depleted of oxygen below the surface levels. Although anoxic events have not happened for millions of years, the geological record shows that they happened many times in the past. Anoxic events may have caused...

     – Anoxic sea water
    Anoxic sea water
    Anoxic waters are areas of sea water or fresh water that are depleted of dissolved oxygen. This condition is generally found in areas that have restricted water exchange....

  • Argo (oceanography)
    Argo (oceanography)
    Argo is an observation system for the Earth's oceans that provides real-time data for use in climate, weather, oceanographic and fisheries research. Argo consists of a large collection of small, drifting oceanic robotic probes deployed worldwide. The probes float as deep as 2 km. Once every...

  • Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory
    Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory
    The Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory , a federal research laboratory, is part of National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research , located in Miami, Florida...

     (AOML) (in the US)
  • Bathymetric chart
  • Ecological Forecasting
    Ecological forecasting
    Ecological forecasting uses knowledge of physics, ecology and physiology to predict how ecosystems will change in the future in response to environmental factors such as climate change...

  • Fleet Numerical Oceanography Center (USA)
  • Freak wave
    Freak wave
    Rogue waves are relatively large and spontaneous ocean surface waves that occur far out in sea, and are a threat even to large ships and ocean liners...

  • List of ocean circulation models
  • List of submarine topographical features
  • List of Russian oceanographers
  • Marine archaeology
  • Marine current power
    Marine current power
    Marine current power is a form of marine energy obtained from harnessing of the kinetic energy of marine currents, such as the Gulf stream. Although not widely used at present, marine current power has an important potential for future electricity generation...

  • Marine engineering
    Naval architecture
    Naval architecture is an engineering discipline dealing with the design, construction, maintenance and operation of marine vessels and structures. Naval architecture involves basic and applied research, design, development, design evaluation and calculations during all stages of the life of a...

  • Ocean colonization
    Ocean colonization
    Ocean colonization is the theory and practice of permanent human settlement of oceans. Such settlements may float on the surface of the water, or be secured to the ocean floor, or exist in an intermediate position....

  • Ocean engineering
    Offshore construction
    Offshore construction is the installation of structures and facilities in a marine environment, usually for the production and transmission of electricity, oil, gas and other resources....

  • Oceanographic Museum
    Oceanographic Museum
    The Oceanographic Museum is a museum of marine sciences in Monaco-Ville, Monaco.- History :The Oceanographic Museum was inaugurated in 1910 by Monaco's modernist reformer, Prince Albert I. This monumental architectural work of art has an impressive façade above the sea, towering over the sheer...

     – Monaco
    Monaco
    Monaco , officially the Principality of Monaco , is a sovereign city state on the French Riviera. It is bordered on three sides by its neighbour, France, and its centre is about from Italy. Its area is with a population of 35,986 as of 2011 and is the most densely populated country in the...

  • Oceans Act of 2000
    Oceans Act of 2000
    The Oceans Act of 2000 established the United States Commission on Ocean Policy, a working group tasked with the development of what would be known as the National Oceans Report.The objective of the report is to promote the following:...

  • Pollution
    Pollution
    Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into a natural environment that causes instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem i.e. physical systems or living organisms. Pollution can take the form of chemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat or light...

  • Sea
    Sea
    A sea generally refers to a large body of salt water, but the term is used in other contexts as well. Most commonly, it means a large expanse of saline water connected with an ocean, and is commonly used as a synonym for ocean...

     – contains list of world's seas
  • Sea level
    Sea level
    Mean sea level is a measure of the average height of the ocean's surface ; used as a standard in reckoning land elevation...

  • Sea level rise

Further reading

  • Hamblin, Jacob Darwin (2005) Oceanographers and the Cold War: Disciples of Marine Science. University of Washington Press. ISBN 978-0295984827
  • Steele, J., K. Turekian and S. Thorpe. (2001). Encyclopedia of Ocean Sciences. San Diego: Academic Press. (6 vols.) ISBN 0-12-227430-X
  • Sverdrup, Keith A., Duxbury, Alyn C., Duxbury, Alison B. (2006). Fundamentals of Oceanography, McGraw-Hill, ISBN 0072826789.
  • Lang, Michael A., Ian G. Macintyre, and Klaus Rützler, eds. Proceedings of the Smithsonian Marine Science Symposium. Smithsonian Contributions to the Marine Sciences, no. 38. Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press, 2009.


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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