Introduction to Physical Oceanography
Homework Set 4
Due 1 October 2008
Late homework will cost 15 points per week or
part of a week it is late.
- Sampling Error. On Wednesday,
17 September, you saw a few animations of changes in sea-surface temperature
and height calculated from the ocean-circulation models.
View this animation of sea-surface
temperature in the tropical Pacific. Then answer these questions:
- What ideal observing system might be needed to observe changes in temperature
patterns at the sea surface, either in a small region or throughout the entire
tropical Pacific? Please be specific. What samples in time and
space are needed to avoid important sampling errors?
- Now look at this map of the Tropical-Ocean
Atmosphere array that measures sea-surface temperature and other variables
in the tropical Pacific. Each square is the location of a buoy that measures
temperature and other variables.How close does this observing systems come
to the ideal?
- Types of Flow. The Strait of Gibraltar is the passage,
about 58 km long, connecting the Atlantic and the Mediterranean, between
southern most Spain and northwestern most Africa. The strait's width
ranges from 12.9 km off Point Marroquí to 43 km at the western
entrance. The depth
is about 300 meters. (From Answers.com)
Photograph of the Strait of Gibraltar from the space shuttle, October 1984, mission
STS-41G, image 17-34-81. The Atlantic Ocean is at the bottom, the Mediterranean
Sea is at the top. From NASA
Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston, Texas web page on Space
Shuttle Views the Earth:
Human Imprints from Space.
Sketch the flow through the Strait of Gibraltar assuming the sill depth
is very shallow, say 5 meters, instead of 300 meters.
- Would you expect
the flow to be that illustrated in Figure
7.1 of the class notes?
- What happens to the flow as the depth becomes
as shallow as a say five meters?
- Please state reasons
for your answers.
- Coriolis Force. Many textbooks state that the Coriolis
force causes ocean currents to veer to the right in the northern hemisphere.
Look at the tropical circulation in figure
11.6, the Caribbean
circulation in figure
11.7, and the west Greenland current in figure
11.8 in the textbook.
- Do any of these currents veer to the left in the
- Why don't they veer to the right?
- Salt Fingering. Where in the ocean do you expect salt
fingering to be important?
- List at least two regions.
- What oceanic processes lead to the distribution
of salinity and temperature necessary for salt fingering in
- Temperature Data. You are asked by an oil-production
company to write a report on the surface temperatures that
might be encountered by a production platform in 2 km water depth
on the Texas continental slope. The company points out that
temperature and currents are related, and that
temperature information may be useful for designing offshore structures
for the Gulf of Mexico.
- List two possible sources on information you could
use in the report.
- List the advantages and disadvantages of each
- Overall, what source would you choose for your
report, and why?
Revised on: 30 September, 2008