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Oceanography (from the
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
ὠκεανός "
ocean The ocean (also the sea The sea, connected as the world ocean or simply the ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers approximately 71% of the surface of the Earth.
" and γράφω "
write Writing is a medium of human communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share") is the act of developing Semantics, meaning among Subject (philosophy), entities or Organization, groups through the use of sufficien ...

write
"), also known as oceanology, is the scientific study of the ocean. It is an important
Earth science Earth science or geoscience includes all fields of natural science Natural science is a branch of science Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and Ta ...
, which covers a wide range of topics, including
ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient cycles and energy flows. Energy enters the syst ...

ecosystem
dynamics;
ocean current An ocean current is a continuous, directed movement of sea water generated by a number of forces acting upon the water, including wind Wind is the natural movement of air or other gases relative to a planet's surface. Wind occurs on a range ...
s,
waves The United States Naval Reserve (Women's Reserve), better known as the WAVES (for Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), was the women's branch of the United States Naval Reserve The United States Navy Reserve (USNR), known as the Un ...
, and
geophysical fluid dynamics Geophysical fluid dynamics, in its broadest meaning, refers to the fluid dynamics of naturally occurring flows, such as lava flows, oceans, and planetary atmosphere An atmosphere (from the greek words ἀτμός ''(atmos)'', meaning 'vapour' ...
;
plate tectonics upright=1.35, Diagram of the internal layering of Earth showing the lithosphere above the asthenosphere (not to scale) Plate tectonics (from the la, label=Late Latin Late Latin ( la, Latinitas serior) is the scholarly name for the written L ...
and the geology of the sea floor; and
flux of \mathbf(\mathbf) with the unit normal vector \mathbf(\mathbf) ''(blue arrows)'' at the point \mathbf multiplied by the area dS. The sum of \mathbf\cdot\mathbf dS for each patch on the surface is the flux through the surface Flux describes ...

flux
es of various chemical substances and physical properties within the ocean and across its boundaries. These diverse topics reflect multiple disciplines that oceanographers utilize to glean further knowledge of the
world ocean The ocean (also the sea The sea, connected as the world ocean or simply the ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers approximately 71% of the surface of the Earth.astronomy Astronomy (from el, ἀστρονομία, literally meaning the science that studies the laws of the stars) is a natural science that studies astronomical object, celestial objects and celestial event, phenomena. It uses mathematics, phys ...
,
biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanisms, Development ...

biology
,
chemistry Chemistry is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. T ...

chemistry
,
climatology Climatology (from Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is appr ...
,
geography Geography (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and Solar System, planets. The first person t ...

geography
,
geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek ...

geology
,
hydrology Hydrology (from Ancient Greek, Greek wikt:ὕδωρ, ὕδωρ, ''hýdōr'' meaning "water" and wikt:λόγος, λόγος, ''lógos'' meaning "study") is the scientific study of the movement, distribution, and management of water on Earth and ...
,
meteorology Meteorology is a branch of the (which include and ), with a major focus on . The study of meteorology dates back , though significant progress in meteorology did not begin until the 18th century. The 19th century saw modest progress in the f ...
and
physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related entities of energy and force. "Physical scie ...

physics
.
Paleoceanography Paleoceanography is the study of the history of the ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers approximately 71% of the surface of the Earth.
studies the history of the oceans in the geologic past. An oceanographer is a person who studies many matters concerned with oceans including marine
geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek ...

geology
,
physics Physics is the natural science that studies matter, its Elementary particle, fundamental constituents, its Motion (physics), motion and behavior through Spacetime, space and time, and the related entities of energy and force. "Physical scie ...

physics
,
chemistry Chemistry is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. T ...

chemistry
and
biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanisms, Development ...

biology
.


History


Early history

Humans first acquired knowledge of the waves and currents of the
sea The sea, connected as the world ocean or simply the ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers approximately 71% of the surface of the Earth.
sea
s and
ocean The ocean (also the sea The sea, connected as the world ocean or simply the ocean The ocean (also the sea or the world ocean) is the body of salt water which covers approximately 71% of the surface of the Earth.
s in pre-historic times. Observations on
tide Tides are the rise and fall of sea level Mean sea level (MSL) (often shortened to sea level) is an average In colloquial, ordinary language, an average is a single number taken as representative of a list of numbers, usually the sum of ...

tide
s were recorded by
Aristotle Aristotle (; grc-gre, Ἀριστοτέλης ''Aristotélēs'', ; 384–322 BC) was a Greek philosopher A philosopher is someone who practices philosophy Philosophy (from , ) is the study of general and fundamental questio ...

Aristotle
and
Strabo Strabo''Strabo'' (meaning "squinty", as in strabismus Strabismus is a condition in which the eyes do not properly align with each other when looking at an object. The eye that is focused on an object can alternate. The condition may be pre ...

Strabo
in 384-322 BC. Early exploration of the oceans was primarily for
cartography Cartography (; from χάρτης ''chartēs'', "papyrus, sheet of paper, map"; and γράφειν ''graphein'', "write") is the study and practice of making and using s. Combining , , and technique, cartography builds on the premise that rea ...
and mainly limited to its surfaces and of the animals that fishermen brought up in nets, though depth soundings by lead line were taken. The Portuguese campaign of Atlantic navigation is the earliest example of a systematic scientific large project, sustained over many decades, studying the currents and winds of the Atlantic. The work of
Pedro Nunes Pedro Nunes (; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman ...

Pedro Nunes
(1502-1578), one of the great mathematicians, is remembered in the navigation context for the determination of the loxodromic curve: the shortest course between two points on the surface of a sphere represented onto a two-dimensional map.https://mathshistory.st-andrews.ac.uk/Biographies/Nunes/ (retrieved 13/06/2020) When he published his "Treatise of the Sphere" (1537)(mostly a commentated translation of earlier work by others) he included a treatise on geometrical and astronomic methods of navigation. There he states clearly that Portuguese navigations were not an adventurous endeavour: ''"nam se fezeram indo a acertar: mas partiam os nossos mareantes muy ensinados e prouidos de estromentos e regras de astrologia e geometria que sam as cousas que os cosmographos ham dadar apercebidas (...) e leuaua cartas muy particularmente rumadas e na ja as de que os antigos vsauam"'' (were not done by chance: but our seafarers departed well taught and provided with instruments and rules of astrology (astronomy) and geometry which were matters the cosmographers would provide (...) and they took charts with exact routes and no longer those used by the ancient). His credibility rests on being personally involved in the instruction of pilots and senior seafarers from 1527 onwards by Royal appointment, along with his recognised competence as mathematician and astronomer. The main problem in navigating back from the south of the
Canary Islands The Canary Islands (; es, Islas Canarias, ), also known informally as ''the Canaries'', is a Spanish archipelago An archipelago ( ), sometimes called an island group or island chain, is a chain, cluster or collection of island ...
(or south of ) by sail alone, is due to the change in the regime of winds and currents: the North Atlantic gyre and the Equatorial counter current will push south along the northwest bulge of Africa, while the uncertain winds where the Northeast trades meet the Southeast trades (the doldrums) leave a sailing ship to the mercy of the currents. Together, prevalent current and wind make northwards progress very difficult or impossible. It was to overcome this problem, and clear the passage to India around Africa as a viable maritime trade route, that a systematic plan of exploration was devised by the Portuguese. The return route from regions south of the Canaries became the ' volta do largo' or 'volta do mar'. The 'rediscovery' of the
Azores islands The Azores ( , also ; pt, Açores ), officially the Autonomous Region of the Azores (), is one of the two Autonomous Regions of Portugal, autonomous regions of Portugal (along with Madeira). It is an archipelago composed of nine High island, vol ...

Azores islands
in 1427 is merely a reflection of the heightened strategic importance of the islands, now sitting on the return route from the western coast of Africa (sequentially called 'volta de Guiné' and 'volta da Mina'); and the references to the
Sargasso Sea The Sargasso Sea () is a region of the Atlantic Ocean bounded by four ocean current, currents forming an ocean gyre. Unlike all other regions called seas, it has no land boundaries. It is distinguished from other parts of the Atlantic Ocean ...
(also called at the time 'Mar da Baga'), to the west of the
Azores The Azores ( , also ; pt, Açores ), officially the Autonomous Region of the Azores (), is one of the two (along with ). It is an composed of nine s in the region of the North Atlantic Ocean, about west of , about northwest of , and about ...

Azores
, in 1436, reveals the western extent of the return route.Carlos Calinas Correia, A Arte de Navegar na Época dos Descobrimentos, Colibri, Lisboa 2017; This is necessary, under sail, to make use of the southeasterly and northeasterly winds away from the western coast of Africa, up to the northern latitudes where the westerly winds will bring the seafarers towards the western coasts of Europe. The secrecy involving the Portuguese navigations, with the death penalty for the leaking of maps and routes, concentrated all sensitive records in the Royal Archives, completely destroyed by the . However, the systematic nature of the Portuguese campaign, mapping the currents and winds of the Atlantic, is demonstrated by the understanding of the seasonal variations, with expeditions setting sail at different times of the year taking different routes to take account of seasonal predominate winds. This happens from as early as late 15th century and early 16th:
Bartolomeu Dias Bartolomeu Dias (; ; Anglicized: Bartholomew Diaz; c. 1450 – 29 May 1500), a nobleman of the Portuguese royal household, was a Portuguese explorer. He sailed around the southernmost tip of Africa in 1488, the first European to do so, s ...

Bartolomeu Dias
followed the African coast on his way south in August 1487, while
Vasco da Gama Vasco da Gama, 1st Count of Vidigueira (, ; ; c. 1460s – 24 December 1524), was a Portugal in the Age of Discovery, Portuguese explorer and the first European to reach India by sea. His initial voyage to India by way of Cape of Good Hope (1 ...

Vasco da Gama
would take an open sea route from the latitude of
Sierra Leone Sierra Leone (, also , ), officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, informally Salone, is a country on the southwest coast of West Africa West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of Africa. The United Nations defines Western A ...

Sierra Leone
, spending 3 months in the open sea of the South Atlantic to profit from the southwards deflection of the southwesterly on the Brazilian side (and the Brazilian current going southward) - Gama departed in July 1497); and
Pedro Alvares Cabral Pedro (alternate archaic spelling Pêro) is a masculine given name. Pedro is the Spanish, Portuguese, and Galician name for '' Peter''. Its French equivalent is Pierre while its English and Germanic form is Peter. The counterpart patronymic ...

Pedro Alvares Cabral
, departing March 1500) took an even larger arch to the west, from the latitude of Cape Verde, thus avoiding the summer monsoon (which would have blocked the route taken by Gama at the time he set sail). Furthermore, there were systematic expeditions pushing into the western Northern Atlantic (Teive, 1454; Vogado, 1462; Teles, 1474; Ulmo, 1486). The documents relating to the supplying of ships, and the ordering of sun declination tables for the southern Atlantic for as early as 1493–1496, all suggest a well planned and systematic activity happening during the decade long period between
Bartolomeu Dias Bartolomeu Dias (; ; Anglicized: Bartholomew Diaz; c. 1450 – 29 May 1500), a nobleman of the Portuguese royal household, was a Portuguese explorer. He sailed around the southernmost tip of Africa in 1488, the first European to do so, s ...

Bartolomeu Dias
finding the southern tip of Africa, and Gama's departure; additionally, there are indications of further travels by Bartolomeu Dias in the area. The most significant consequence of this systematised knowledge was the negotiation of the
Treaty of Tordesillas The Treaty of Tordesillas, ; pt, Tratado de Tordesilhas . signed in Tordesillas, Spain on June 7, 1494, and authenticated in Setúbal, Portugal, divided the newly-discovered lands outside Europe between the Portuguese Empire The Portuguese ...

Treaty of Tordesillas
in 1494, moving the line of demarcation 270 leagues to the west (from 100 to 370 leagues west of the Azores), bringing what is now Brazil into the Portuguese area of domination. The knowledge gathered from open sea exploration allowed for the well documented extended periods of sail without sight of land, not by accident but as pre-determined planned route; for example, 30 days for
Bartolomeu Dias Bartolomeu Dias (; ; Anglicized: Bartholomew Diaz; c. 1450 – 29 May 1500), a nobleman of the Portuguese royal household, was a Portuguese explorer. He sailed around the southernmost tip of Africa in 1488, the first European to do so, s ...

Bartolomeu Dias
culminating on
Mossel Bay Mossel Bay ( af, Mosselbaai) is a harbour town of about 99,319 people on the Southern Cape (or Garden Route) of South Africa. It is an important tourism and farming region of the Western Cape Province. Mossel Bay lies 400 kilometres east of the ...

Mossel Bay
, the 3 months Gama spend on the Southern Atlantic to use the Brazil current (southward), or the 29 days Cabral took from Cape Verde up to landing in
Monte Pascoal Monte Pascoal is a mountain to the south of the city of Porto Seguro Porto Seguro (), Safe Harbor in English, is a city located in the far south of Bahia, Brazil. The city has an estimated population of 150,658 (2020), covers , and has a populati ...

Monte Pascoal
, Brazil. The Danish expedition to Arabia 1761-67 can be said to be the world's first oceanographic expedition, as the ship Grønland had on board a group of scientists, including naturalist
Peter Forsskål Peter Forsskål, sometimes spelled Pehr Forsskål, Peter Forskaol, Petrus Forskål or Pehr Forsskåhl (11 January 1732 – 11 July 1763) was a Swedish-speaking population of Finland, Swedish-speaking Finnish exploration, explorer, oriental studies, ...
, who was assigned an explicit task by the king, Frederik V, to study and describe the marine life in the open sea, including finding the cause of mareel, or milky seas. For this purpose the expedition was equipped with nets and scrapers, specifically designed to collect samples from the open waters and the bottom at great depth. Although
Juan Ponce de León Juan Ponce de León (, , , ; 1474 – July 1521) was a Spanish Spanish may refer to: * Items from or related to Spain , * gl, Reino de España, * oc, Reiaume d'Espanha, , , image_flag = Bandera de España.svg , image_coat = E ...

Juan Ponce de León
in 1513 first identified the
Gulf Stream The Gulf Stream, together with its northern extension the North Atlantic Drift The North Atlantic Current (NAC), also known as North Atlantic Drift and North Atlantic Sea Movement, is a powerful warm western boundary current Boundary curren ...
, and the current was well known to mariners,
Benjamin Franklin Benjamin Franklin ( April 17, 1790) was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States that was negotiated on behalf of the United States by John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and John Jay The Founding Fathers of the United States, or simp ...

Benjamin Franklin
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 The Gulf Stream, together with its northern extension the North Atlantic Drift The North Atlantic Current (NAC), also known as North Atlantic Drift and North Atlantic Sea Movement, is a powerful warm western boundary current Boundary curren ...
in 1769–1770. Information on the currents of the
Pacific Ocean The Pacific Ocean is the largest and deepest of Earth Earth is the third planet from the Sun and the only astronomical object known to harbour and support life. 29.2% of Earth's surface is land consisting of continents and islands. ...

Pacific Ocean
was gathered by explorers of the late 18th century, including
James Cook Captain Captain is a title for the commander of a military unit, the commander of a ship, aeroplane, spacecraft, or other vessel, or the commander of a port, fire department or police department, election precinct, etc. The captain is a milit ...

James Cook
and
Louis Antoine de Bougainville Louis-Antoine, Comte de Bougainville (, , ; 12 November 1729 – August 1811) was a French admiral and exploration, explorer. A contemporary of the British explorer James Cook, he took part in the Seven Years' War in North America and the America ...
.
James Rennell Major Major is a military rank of commissioned officer status, with corresponding ranks existing in many military forces throughout the world. Background When used unhyphenated, in conjunction with no other indicators, major is one rank se ...
wrote the first scientific textbooks on oceanography, detailing the current flows of the and
Indian Indian or Indians refers to people or things related to India, or to the indigenous people of the Americas, or Aboriginal Australians until the 19th century. People South Asia * Indian people, people of Indian nationality, or people who come ...

Indian
oceans. During a voyage around the
Cape of Good Hope A cape is a sleeveless outer garment, which drapes the wearer's back, arms, and chest, and connects at the neck. History Capes were common in medieval Europe, especially when combined with a Hood (headgear), hood in the Chaperon (headgear), ...

Cape of Good Hope
in 1777, he mapped ''"the banks and currents at the Lagullas"''. He was also the first to understand the nature of the intermittent current near the
Isles of Scilly The Isles of Scilly (; kw, Syllan or ') is an archipelago off the southwestern tip of Cornwall, England. One of the islands, St Agnes, Isles of Scilly, St Agnes, is the most southerly point in Great Britain, Britain, being over further south ...
, (now known as Rennell's Current). Sir
James Clark Ross Sir James Clark Ross (15 April 1800 – 3 April 1862) was a British Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's Navy, naval warfare force. Although warships were used by English and Scottish kings from the early medieval p ...

James Clark Ross
took the first modern sounding in deep sea in 1840, and
Charles Darwin Charles Robert Darwin (; ; 12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882) was an English naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that fu ...

Charles Darwin
published a paper on
reef A reef is a ridge or shoal A tidal sandbar connecting the islands of Waya and Wayasewa of the Yasawa Islands, Fiji ">Fiji.html" ;"title="Yasawa Islands, Fiji">Yasawa Islands, Fiji In oceanography, geomorphology, and earth sciences, a s ...

reef
s and the formation of
atoll An atoll (), sometimes known as a coral atoll, is a ring-shaped coral reef A coral reef is an underwater ecosystems, ecosystem characterized by reef-building corals. Reefs are formed of Colony (biology), colonies of coral polyp (zoology) ...

atoll
s as a result of the second voyage of HMS ''Beagle'' in 1831–1836.
Robert FitzRoy Vice-Admiral Robert FitzRoy (5 July 1805 – 30 April 1865) was an English officer of the Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's Navy, naval warfare force. Although warships were used by English and Scottish kings from th ...

Robert FitzRoy
published a four-volume report of ''Beagle''s three voyages. In 1841–1842
Edward Forbes Professor Edward Forbes FRS, FGS (12 February 1815 – 18 November 1854) was a Manx naturalist Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms, including animals, fungus, fungi, and plants, in their natural environment, leaning ...

Edward Forbes
undertook dredging in the
Aegean Sea The Aegean Sea ; tr, Ege Denizi is an elongated Bay, embayment of the Mediterranean Sea located between Europe's Geography of Europe, Balkan peninsula and Asia's Anatolia peninsula. The sea has an area of some 215,000 square kilometres. In ...

Aegean Sea
that founded marine ecology. The first superintendent of the
United States Naval Observatory The United States Naval Observatory (USNO) is one of the oldest scientific agencies in the United States The United States of America (USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US), or America, is a country Contiguous United Sta ...
(1842–1861),
Matthew Fontaine Maury Matthew Fontaine Maury (January 14, 1806February 1, 1873) was an American astronomer An astronomer is a scientist in the field of astronomy who focuses their studies on a specific question or field outside the scope of Earth. They observe astro ...

Matthew Fontaine Maury
devoted his time to the study of marine meteorology,
navigation Navigation is a field of study that focuses on the process of monitoring and controlling the movement of a craft or vehicle from one place to another.Bowditch, 2003:799. The field of navigation includes four general categories: land navigation, ...

navigation
, and charting prevailing winds and currents. His 1855 textbook ''Physical Geography of the Sea'' was one of the first comprehensive oceanography studies. Many nations sent oceanographic observations to Maury at the Naval Observatory, where he and his colleagues evaluated the information and distributed the results worldwide.


Modern oceanography

Knowledge of the oceans remained confined to the topmost few fathoms of the water and a small amount of the bottom, mainly in shallow areas. Almost nothing was known of the ocean depths. The British
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare Naval warfare is combat Combat ( French for ''fight'') is a purposeful violent conflict meant to physically harm or kill the opposition. Combat may be armed (using weapon A ...
's efforts to chart all of the world's
coast The coast, also known as the coastline or seashore, is defined as the area where land meets the ocean The ocean (also the or the world ocean) is the body of that covers approximately 70.8% of the surface of and contains 97% of . Anot ...

coast
lines in the mid-19th century reinforced the vague idea that most of the ocean was very deep, although little more was known. As exploration ignited both popular and scientific interest in the polar regions and
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent A continent is any of several large landmass A landmass, or land mass, is a large region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', ...

Africa
, so too did the mysteries of the unexplored oceans. The seminal event in the founding of the modern science of oceanography was the 1872–1876 . As the first true oceanographic cruise, this expedition laid the groundwork for an entire academic and research discipline.Then and Now: The HMS Challenger Expedition and the 'Mountains in the Sea' Expedition
Ocean Explorer website (NOAA), accessed 2 January 2012
In response to a recommendation from the
Royal Society The Royal Society, formally The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, is a learned society and the United Kingdom's national academy of sciences. Founded on 28 November 1660, it was granted a royal charter by Charles II of ...
, the
British Government The Government of the United Kingdom, domestically referred to as Her Majesty's Government, is the central government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
announced in 1871 an expedition to explore world's oceans and conduct appropriate scientific investigation. Charles Wyville Thompson and Sir John Murray launched the . , leased from the Royal Navy, was modified for scientific work and equipped with separate laboratories for
natural history Natural history is a domain of inquiry involving organisms, including animals, fungus, fungi, and plants, in their natural environment, leaning more towards observational than experimental methods of study. A person who studies natural history ...

natural history
and
chemistry Chemistry is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. T ...

chemistry
. Under the scientific supervision of Thomson, ''Challenger'' travelled nearly surveying and exploring. On her journey circumnavigating the globe, 492 deep sea soundings, 133 bottom dredges, 151 open water trawls and 263 serial water temperature observations were taken. Around 4,700 new species of marine life were discovered. The result was the ''Report Of The Scientific Results of the Exploring Voyage of H.M.S. Challenger during the years 1873–76''. Murray, who supervised the publication, described the report as "the greatest advance in the knowledge of our planet since the celebrated discoveries of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries". He went on to found the academic discipline of oceanography at the
University of Edinburgh The University of Edinburgh ( sco, University o Edinburgh, gd, Oilthigh Dhùn Èideann; abbreviated as ''Edin.'' in post-nominals Post-nominal letters, also called post-nominal initials, post-nominal titles, designatory letters or simply ...
, which remained the centre for oceanographic research well into the 20th century. Murray was the first to study marine trenches and in particular the
Mid-Atlantic Ridge The Mid-Atlantic Ridge is a (a or constructive ) located along the floor of the , and part of the . In the North Atlantic, the ridge separates the from the and the , north and south of the respectively. In the South Atlantic, it separates the ...
, and map the sedimentary deposits in the oceans. He tried to map out the world's ocean currents based on salinity and temperature observations, and was the first to correctly understand the nature of
coral reef A coral reef is an underwater ecosystem An ecosystem (or ecological system) consists of all the organisms and the physical environment with which they interact. These biotic and abiotic components are linked together through nutrient c ...

coral reef
development. In the late 19th century, other
Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town in the US *Western Creek, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western Junction, Tasmania, a locality in Australia *Western world, countries that ide ...
nations also sent out scientific expeditions (as did private individuals and institutions). The first purpose built oceanographic ship, ''Albatros'', was built in 1882. In 1893,
Fridtjof Nansen Fridtjof Wedel-Jarlsberg Nansen (; 10 October 1861 – 13 May 1930) was a Norwegian polymath A polymath ( el, πολυμαθής, ', "having learned much"; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, ...

Fridtjof Nansen
allowed his ship, ''Fram'', to be frozen in the Arctic ice. This enabled him to obtain oceanographic, meteorological and astronomical data at a stationary spot over an extended period. In 1881 the geographer
John Francon Williams John Francon Williams FRGS (1854 – 4 September 1911) was a Welsh writer, geographer, historian, journalist, cartographer, and inventor, born in Llanllechid, Caernarvonshire. His seminal work was ''The Geography of the Oceans''. Family John Fr ...
published a seminal book, ''Geography of the Oceans''. Between 1907 and 1911 Otto Krümmel published the ''Handbuch der Ozeanographie'', which became influential in awakening public interest in oceanography. The four-month 1910 North Atlantic expedition headed by
John MurrayJohn Murray or John Murry may refer to: Arts and media Literature and music *John Murray (publishing house), a British publishing house, founded by John Murray (1745–1793) *John Murray (publisher, born 1778) (died 1843), second head of the pub ...
and
Johan Hjort Johan Hjort (18 February 1869, in Christiania – 7 October 1948, in Oslo Oslo ( , also , , rarely ) is the Capital city, capital and List of towns and cities in Norway, most populous city of Norway. It constitutes both a Counties of Norwa ...

Johan Hjort
was the most ambitious research oceanographic and marine zoological project ever mounted until then, and led to the classic 1912 book ''The Depths of the Ocean''. 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. In 1934, Easter Ellen Cupp, the first woman to have earned a PhD (at Scripps) in the United States, completed a major work on diatoms that remained the standard taxonomy in the field until well after her death in 1999. In 1940, Cupp was let go from her position at Scripps. Sverdrup specifically commended Cupp as a conscientious and industrious worker and commented that his decision was no reflection on her ability as a scientist. Sverdrup used the instructor billet vacated by Cupp to employ Marston Sargent,a biologist studying marine algae, which was not a new research program at Scripps. Financial pressures did not prevent Sverdrup from retaining the services of two other young post-doctoral students,
Walter Munk Walter Heinrich Munk (October 19, 1917 – February 8, 2019) was an American physical oceanographer. One of the first scientists to bring statistical methods to the analysis of oceanographic data, Munk is noted for creating fruitful areas of res ...
and
Roger Revelle 250px, The atmospheric CO2 concentration Roger Randall Dougan Revelle (March 7, 1909 – July 15, 1991) was a scientist and scholar who was instrumental in the formative years of the University of California San Diego The University of Cal ...
. Cupp's partner, Dorothy Rosenbury, found her a position teaching high school, where she remained for the rest of her career. (Russell, 2000) Sverdrup, Johnson and Fleming published '' The Oceans'' in 1942, 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 Rhodes Fairbridge's ''Encyclopedia of Oceanography'' was published in 1966. The Great Global Rift, running along the Mid Atlantic Ridge, was discovered by
Maurice Ewing William Maurice "Doc" Ewing (May 12, 1906 – May 4, 1974) was an American geophysicist and oceanographer. Ewing has been described as a pioneering geophysicist Geophysics () is a subject of natural science concerned with the physical ...
and
Bruce Heezen Bruce Charles Heezen (; April 11, 1924 – June 21, 1977) was an American geologist. He worked with oceanographic cartographer Marie Tharp at Columbia University to map the Mid-Atlantic Ridge in the 1950s. Biography Heezen was born in Vinton, Iow ...
in 1953 and mapped by Heezen and
Marie Tharp Marie Tharp (July 30, 1920 – August 23, 2006) was an American geologist A geologist is a scientist who studies the solid, liquid, and gaseous matter that constitutes the Earth and other terrestrial planets, as well as the processes that sh ...
using bathymetric data; in 1954 a mountain range under the Arctic Ocean was found by the Arctic Institute of the USSR. The theory of seafloor spreading was developed in 1960 by
Harry Hammond Hess Harry Hammond Hess (May 24, 1906 – August 25, 1969) was an American geologist A geologist is a scientist who studies the solid, liquid, and gaseous matter that constitutes the Earth and other terrestrial planets, as well as the processes that ...
. The
Ocean Drilling Program The Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) was a multinational effort to explore and study the composition and structure of the Earth's oceanic basins. ODP, which began in 1985, was the successor to the Deep Sea Drilling Project initiated in 1968 by the ...
started in 1966. Deep-sea vents were discovered in 1977 by
Jack Corliss John B. ("Jack") Corliss is a scientist who has worked in the fields of geology, oceanography, and the origins of life. Corliss is a ucsd alumni, University of California, San Diego Alumnus, receiving his PhD from Scripps Institution of Oceanogr ...
and
Robert Ballard Robert Duane Ballard (born June 30, 1942) is an American retired Navy officer and a professor of oceanography Oceanography (from the Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the used in and the from around 1500 BC t ...
in the submersible . In the 1950s,
Auguste Piccard Auguste Antoine Piccard (28 January 1884 – 24 March 1962) was a Swiss Swiss may refer to: * the adjectival form of Switzerland *Swiss people Places *Swiss, Missouri *Swiss, North Carolina *Swiss, West Virginia *Swiss, Wisconsin Other uses * ...
invented the
bathyscaphe A bathyscaphe ( or ) is a free-diving Image:Junko-Kitahama Apnea-Monofin cropped.jpg, Freediver with monofin, ascending Freediving, free-diving, free diving, breath-hold diving, or skin diving is a form of underwater diving that relies on apnea ...
and used the
bathyscaphe A bathyscaphe ( or ) is a free-diving Image:Junko-Kitahama Apnea-Monofin cropped.jpg, Freediver with monofin, ascending Freediving, free-diving, free diving, breath-hold diving, or skin diving is a form of underwater diving that relies on apnea ...
to investigate the ocean's depths. The United States
nuclear submarine A nuclear submarine is a submarine powered by a nuclear reactor. The performance advantages of nuclear submarines over "conventional" (typically Marine diesel engine, diesel-electric) submarines are considerable. Nuclear marine propulsion, Nuc ...
made the first journey under the ice to the North Pole in 1958. In 1962 the FLIP (Floating Instrument Platform), a spar buoy, was first deployed. In 1968,
Tanya Atwater Tanya Atwater (born 1942) is an American geophysicist and marine geologist who specializes in plate tectonics File:Earth cutaway schematic-en.svg, upright=1.35, Diagram of the internal layering of Earth showing the lithosphere above the asthe ...

Tanya Atwater
led the first all-woman oceanographic expedition. Until that time, gender policies restricted women oceanographers from participating in voyages to a significant extent. 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. Early techniques included analog computers (such as the Ishiguro Storm Surge Computer) generally now replaced by numerical methods (eg
SLOSH In fluid dynamics In and , fluid dynamics is a subdiscipline of that describes the flow of s—s and es. It has several subdisciplines, including ' (the study of air and other gases in motion) and hydrodynamics (the study of liquids in mo ...
.) 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 (WOCE) which continued until 2002. Geosat seafloor mapping data became available in 1995. In recent years studies advanced particular knowledge on ocean acidification, ocean heat content, ocean currents, El Niño, the El Niño phenomenon, mapping of methane hydrate deposits, the carbon cycle, coastal erosion, weathering and climate feedbacks in regards to climate change (general concept), climate change interactions. Study of the oceans is linked to understanding global climate changes, potential global warming and related Biosphere#Origin and use of the term, biosphere concerns. The atmosphere and ocean are linked because of evaporation and precipitation (meteorology), precipitation as well as thermal flux (and solar insolation). Wind stress is a major driver of ocean currents while the ocean is a sink for atmospheric carbon dioxide. All these factors relate to the ocean's Biogeochemistry, biogeochemical setup. Further understanding of the worlds oceans permit scientists to better decide weather changes which in addition guides to a more reliable utilization of earths resources.


Branches

The study of oceanography is divided into these five branches:


Biological oceanography

Biological oceanography investigates the ecology and biology of marine organisms in the context of the physical, chemical and geological characteristics of their ocean environment.


Chemical oceanography

Chemical oceanography is the study of the
chemistry Chemistry is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge Knowledge is a familiarity or awareness, of someone or something, such as facts A fact is an occurrence in the real world. T ...

chemistry
of the ocean. Whereas chemical oceanography is primarily occupied with the study and understanding of seawater properties and its changes, ocean chemistry focuses primarily on the geochemical cycles. The following is a central topic investigated by chemical oceanography.


Ocean acidification

Ocean acidification describes the decrease in ocean PH#Seawater, pH that is caused by human impact on the environment, anthropogenic carbon dioxide () emissions into the Earth's atmosphere, atmosphere. Seawater is slightly alkalinity, alkaline and had a preindustrial pH of about 8.2. More recently, anthropogenic activities have steadily increased the carbon dioxide content of the atmosphere; about 30–40% of the added CO2 is absorbed by the oceans, forming carbonic acid and lowering the pH (now below 8.1) through ocean acidification. The pH is expected to reach 7.7 by the year 2100. An important element for the skeletons of marine animals is calcium, but calcium carbonate becomes more soluble with pressure, so carbonate shells and skeletons dissolve below the carbonate compensation depth. Calcium carbonate becomes more soluble at lower pH, so ocean acidification is likely to affect marine organisms with calcareous shells, such as oysters, clams, sea urchins and corals, and the carbonate compensation depth will rise closer to the sea surface. Affected planktonic organisms will include pteropods, coccolithophorids and foraminifera, all important in the food chain. In tropical regions, corals are likely to be severely affected as they become less able to build their calcium carbonate skeletons, in turn adversely impacting other Coral reef, reef dwellers. The current rate of ocean chemistry change seems to be unprecedented in Earth's geological history, making it unclear how well marine ecosystems will adapt to the shifting conditions of the near future. Of particular concern is the manner in which the combination of acidification with the expected additional stressors of higher temperatures and hypoxia (environmental), lower oxygen levels will impact the seas.


Geological oceanography

Geological oceanography is the study of the
geology Geology (from the Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek ...

geology
of the ocean floor including
plate tectonics upright=1.35, Diagram of the internal layering of Earth showing the lithosphere above the asthenosphere (not to scale) Plate tectonics (from the la, label=Late Latin Late Latin ( la, Latinitas serior) is the scholarly name for the written L ...
and paleoceanography.


Physical oceanography

Physical oceanography studies the ocean's physical attributes including temperature-salinity structure, mixing, ocean surface wave, surface waves, internal waves, surface
tide Tides are the rise and fall of sea level Mean sea level (MSL) (often shortened to sea level) is an average In colloquial, ordinary language, an average is a single number taken as representative of a list of numbers, usually the sum of ...

tide
s, internal tides, and ocean current, currents. The following are central topics investigated by physical oceanography.


Seismic Oceanography


Ocean currents

Since the early ocean expeditions in oceanography, a major interest was the study of the ocean currents and temperature measurements. The tides, the Coriolis effect, changes in direction and strength of wind, salinity and temperature are the main factors determining ocean currents. The thermohaline circulation (THC) (''thermo-'' referring to temperature and ''-haline'' referring to salinity, salt content) connects the ocean basins and is primarily dependent on the Water (molecule)#Density of saltwater and ice, density of sea water. It is becoming more common to refer to this system as the 'meridional overturning circulation' because it more accurately accounts for other driving factors beyond temperature and salinity. *Examples of sustained currents are the
Gulf Stream The Gulf Stream, together with its northern extension the North Atlantic Drift The North Atlantic Current (NAC), also known as North Atlantic Drift and North Atlantic Sea Movement, is a powerful warm western boundary current Boundary curren ...
and the Kuroshio Current which are wind-driven western boundary currents.


Ocean heat content

Oceanic heat content (OHC) refers to the heat stored in the ocean. The changes in the ocean heat play an important role in sea level rise, because of thermal expansion. Ocean warming accounts for 90% of the energy accumulation from global warming between 1971 and 2010.


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 and biological productivity. Paleoceanographic studies using environment models and different proxies enable the scientific community to assess the role of the oceanic processes in the global climate by the reconstruction of past climate at various intervals. Paleoceanographic research is also intimately tied to palaeoclimatology.


Oceanographic institutions

The first international organization of oceanography was created in 1902 as the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. In 1903 the Scripps Institution of Oceanography was founded, followed by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 1930, Virginia Institute of Marine Science in 1938, and later the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, and the University of Washington#Organization, School of Oceanography at University of Washington. In Britain, the National Oceanography Centre (an institute of the Natural Environment Research Council) is the successor to the UK's Institute of Oceanographic Sciences. In Australia, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research (CMAR), is a leading centre. In 1921 the International Hydrographic Bureau (IHB) was formed in Monaco.


Related disciplines

* * * * * * * * * * * *


See also

* * * * * * * * List of seas * * * * * * * * Ocean optics * Ocean color * * * *Ocean chemistry


References


Sources

* Hamblin, Jacob Darwin (2005
''Oceanographers and the Cold War: Disciples of Marine Science''
University of Washington Press. * Steele, J., K. Turekian and S. Thorpe. (2001). ''Encyclopedia of Ocean Sciences.'' San Diego: Academic Press. (6 vols.) * Sverdrup, Keith A., Duxbury, Alyn C., Duxbury, Alison B. (2006). ''Fundamentals of Oceanography'', McGraw-Hill, * 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) * Boling Guo, Daiwen Huang
''Infinite-Dimensional Dynamical Systems in Atmospheric and Oceanic Science''
2014, World Scientific Publishing,
Sample Chapter
* Russell, Joellen Louise

2000, Regents of the University of California.


External links


NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory – Physical Oceanography Distributed Active Archive Center (PO.DAAC)
A data centre responsible for archiving and distributing data about the physical state of the ocean.
Scripps Institution of Oceanography
One of the world's oldest, largest, and most important centres for ocean and Earth science research, education, and public service.
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI)
One of the world's largest private, non-profit ocean research, engineering and education organizations.
British Oceanographic Data Centre
A source of oceanographic data and information.
NOAA Ocean and Weather Data Navigator
Plot and download ocean data.
Freeview Video 'Voyage to the Bottom of the Deep Deep Sea' Oceanography Programme
by the Vega Science Trust and the BBC/Open University.
Atlas of Spanish Oceanography
b
InvestigAdHoc

Glossary of Physical Oceanography and Related Disciplines
by Steven K. Baum, Department of Oceanography, Texas A&M University
Barcelona-Ocean.com
Inspiring Education in Marine Sciences
CFOO: Sea Atlas
A source of oceanographic live data (buoy monitoring) and education for South African coasts. *
Memorial website for USNS Bowditch, USNS Dutton, USNS Michelson and USNS H. H. Hess
{{Authority control Oceanography, Applied and interdisciplinary physics Earth sciences Hydrology Physical geography Articles containing video clips