Dr Bob Retired

After a long career in oceanography Dr. Bob retired on 31 August 2009. He will continue to maintain OceanWorld and to make changes to his online textbooks. Dr Bob started graduate studies at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 1963, graduating with his PhD in January 1969. He worked at Scripps on HF radar, measurements of ocean waves, the development of Seasat, and the beginnings of radio oceanography. In 1979 he accepted a joint appointment with with Scripps and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory JPL. At JPL hehelped start their oceanography group and he was Project Scientist for Topex/Poseidon. In June 1989 he moved to Texas A&M University where he taught physical oceanography and helped start a new degree program in environmental geoscience. As a professor he learned much about teaching, and with the help of Margaret Hammer, Samantha Rohr Shields, and many talented teachers he founded OceanWorld. Thank all of you for helping make the site what it is today.

Dr Bob's Talk at the 2008 National Marine Educators Association Meeting

Read Dr Bob's Talk on the Global Water Cycle at the National Marine Educators Association annual meeting in Savannah Georgia in July 2008. This is a 18 MByte PDF file.

OceanWorld Wins National Award

OceanWorld has won the 2007 Best Web Site Award from the Geoscience Information Society. The award was presented to Dr. Bob Stewart at the society's annual awards luncheon on 30 October 2007 during the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Denver, Colorado. The award is presented to a website which exemplifies outstanding standards of content, design, organization, and overall site effectiveness.

Teaching Oceanography

Read Bob Stewart's talk to the Oceanography Department at Texas A&M University on Teaching Oceanography for the 21st Century. This is a 25 MByte pdf file.

Texas Envirothon Talk

Read Dr. Bob's talk to the Texas Envirothon at Longview Texas on 26 March 2006. The talk, Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate: The Texas Perspective [14 MByte pdf file], contributed to this year's national theme Water Stewardship in a Changing Climate.

Ocean Literacy

The National Marine Educators Association, NOAA Office of Education, Centers for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence, National Geographic Society, and College of Exploration have produced a document defining ocean literacy and the essential principles and fundamental concepts that all students ought to know about the ocean. The document, Ocean Literacy, The Essential Principles of Ocean Science is available through the College of Exploration. The document is the work of a twenty-two scientists and educators with the help of many others. The definition of Ocean Literacy and the Essential Principles are also available through this web site.

Want to Contribute?

I would like to open Oceanworld to contributions from all. This will convert Oceanworld to an open source document that will expand as others contribute. It will become a work of the ocean community. If you are a teacher or oceanographer and would like to contribute material contact me at stewart@ocean.tamu.edu. If your material fits, I will add it to Oceanworld and put your name on the contribution. We need links to great material at other sites, information on how you teach different ocean concepts, classroom resources, or anything else that you think needs to be added.

New Oceanography Book

Dr Bob has been busy writing a new oceanography book for college and high-school students: Our Ocean Planet: Oceanography in the 21st Century. The book is completely different than conventional books. It is organized around important problems such as the role of the ocean in climate or fisheries, or coastal pollution. The book pulls in the key concepts in oceanography outlined below and by a committee of the National Marine Educators Association.

Key Concepts in Oceanography

What are the key concepts all students ought to know about the ocean? Dr Bob has been working with six research oceanographers to list the key concepts in a document "WHAT SHOULD EVERY STUDENT KNOW ABOUT THE OCEANS?" The document is open for comments and revisions by all who are interested in teaching oceanography. What is appropriate, what is not? Is the list complete? At what level should the different concepts be taught?

Dr Bob's White Paper on Ocean Literacy

Read Dr Bob's white paper on ocean literacy and a proposed definition.

Dr Bob's Talk at the 2004 National Marine Educators Association Meeting

Read Dr Bob's Talk to the National Marine Educators Association annual meeting in Saint Petersburg, Florida last July 2004.

Dr Bob's Talk at the 2003 National Marine Educators Association Meeting

Read Dr Bob's Talk to the National Marine Educators Association annual meeting in Wilmington, North Carolina last July 2003.


Hey OceanWorld Users,
Now you can easily print content from the OceanWorld site with our "Printer Friendly Page" link.

Just look for the Printer Friendly Page Icon: at the bottom of most pages.

This will take you to another page with less graphics, and formatted to fit on a standard print page. We hope this makes bringing OceanWorld to the classroom even easier.

OceanWorld Webmaster


Hey OceanWorld Users,
the GLOSSARY is now embedded with in the pages of Ocean World. If you see a highlighted word, click on it and the definition will pop up for you.

OceanWorld Webmaster


Hey OceanWorld Users,
You now have the ability to search our site for specific content. Just use the search box on the left side of the page. This function has been implemented to make content on the OceanWorld web site even easier to find. If you have any problems with this feature, or any other problems with OceanWorld, email us at oceanwld@ocean.tamu.edu and let us know.

Also, keep e-mailing Dr Bob with your questions, and he will give you a response as soon as he can.

OceanWorld Webmaster

Gateway to Educational Materials (GEM) Membership

ATTENITION EDUCATORS: Oceanworld is now a member of the Gateway to Educational Materials (GEM) at www.thegateway.org. The GEM site states:

The gateway to educational material "The Gateway to Educational Materials (GEM) project is a consortium effort to provide educators with quick and easy access to the substantial, but uncataloged, collections of educational materials found on various federal, state, university, non-profit, and commercial Internet sites."

The Gateway to Educational Materials web site is sponsored by the US Department of Education.

New and Improved OceanWorld

The redesigned Oceanworld web site is now up. Improvements in appearance, navigation and content presentation were implemented to provide users with a more "at your fingertips" approach to the information within Oceanworld. Also, new pages to both the Educators and Students sections have been added.

Updates to Oceanworld will continue. The use of Flash, for improved interaction as well as animations to aid in topic explanation, may soon be implemented. Look for updates in this News section.

Dr. Bob back from France!

OceanWorld's Dr. Bob is back on board to take your questions regarding ocean science, education, and the life of an oceanographer. To ask your question visit our "Ask Dr. Bob" page linked to the left in the navbar.

Massive Iceberg's birth captured

iceberg birthThe Antarctic region of the globe seems to be making big news with scientists these days. Researchers suggest that warming in the climate of the area has been the cause of major activity such as the Larsen Ice Shelf collapse.

Another iceberg, this time broken off of the Pine Island Glacier on the West Antarctic continent, splashed down "well in advance of scientists predictions" says NASA.

An excellent animation of the separation, captured by NASA's Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer, is available with other Antarctica related materials at:

Larsen Ice Shelf Collapse

ice shelf collapseAccording to NSIDC, the National Snow and Ice Data Center, the northern section of the Larsen B ice shelf, a large floating ice mass on the eastern side of the Antarctic Peninsula, has shattered and separated from the continent.

To imagine the size of this block of ice NSIDC suggests that "the area lost in this most recent event dwarfs Rhode Island (2717 km2) in size. In terms of volume, the amount of ice released in this short time is 720 billion tons, enough ice for about 12 trillion 10 kg bags."

For more information on the collapse check the NSIDEC web site at http://nsidc.org/iceshelves/larsenb2002/index.html

GRACE launched successfully

The GRACE - Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment spacecraft was launched on March 17, 2002 at 9:21 am GMT. GRACE will map Earth's gravity field so well that Topex/Poseidon and Jason data can be used to map the mean (time averaged) ocean currents. Before GRACE, we did not know the geoid well enough to map these currents. The geoid is determined by Earth's gravity.

For further information on GRACE check out the following web sites:

and http://op.gfz-potsdam.de/grace/index_GRACE.html

European Space Agency launches ENVISAT

enivisatIn what Philippe Escudier, CNES JASON-1 project manager, called "a milestone for the altimetry community," the ESA Envisat blasted off on the back of an Ariane 5 rocket from French New Guinea on Friday, March 1. Once Envisat is declared fully operational in several weeks, a battery of tests lasting six months will commence to validate data received from the ten instruments aboard the satellite.

Ecudier is particularly excited that the data from TOPEX/Poseidon, JASON-1, and now Envisat all use the DORIS altimetry system as their frame of reference. This ensures that the data received from these satellites will be completely complementary to each other. In addition the same processing station will be used by all three satellites, further tying together their results.

"It really looks like we have in hands efficient tools to begin a new era in altimetry development," Escudier concluded.

TOPEX/Poseidon receives continued support from NASA through Sept. '03

Eric Lindstrom, a Oceanography program scientist at NASA headquarters in Washington DC, sent word to T/P and JASON-1 researchers that the program has received funding approval from NASA's Earth Science Enterprise initiative through September of next year. About further funding for the project Lindstrom comments that the prospects are good: "Further operation past that time remains to be determined, but seems quite possible if the satellite remains healthy and economies in satellite operation continue as planned at JPL."

JASON-1 fully operational

The latest news from CNES and NASA confirms that the JASON-1 satellite is in "excellent health." The following information taken from NASA/JPL's own December 7th press release describe JASON's first moments in space:

"At 55 minutes, 20 seconds into the mission -- or 8:02 a.m. PST -- the Jason 1 spacecraft separated from the Delta's second stage. Following separation, Jason's twin sets of solar arrays were unfolded and the satellite began its rotation toward the Sun. Ground controllers successfully acquired the spacecraft's signal from the Poker Flats, Alaska, tracking station at 8:41 a.m. PST. Initial telemetry reports received by the Jason team show the spacecraft to be in excellent health."

"The French Space Agency, Centre National d' Etudes Spatiales (CNES), will handle satellite control and operations through the spacecraft's on-orbit checkout phase, expected to last approximately 30 to 50 days. The Toulouse Space Centre in Toulouse, France, is in charge of these operations. Routine operations will then transfer to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif."

Additional information is available on the Internet at: http://sealevel.jpl.nasa.gov , the JPL home page at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov , http://www-aviso.cnes.fr , and on the CNES home page at http://www.cnes.fr."

"JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the U.S. portion of the mission for NASA's Office of Earth Science, Washington, D.C."

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Revised on: 29 January, 2010

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