The role of the ocean on weather and climate is often discussed in the news. Who has not heard of El Niño and changing weather patterns, the Atlantic hurricane season and storm surges. Yet, what exactly is the role of the ocean? And, why do we care?
1.1 Why study the Physics of the ocean?
The answer depends on our interests, which devolves from our use of the oceans. Three broad themes are important:
These themes influence our selection of topics to study. The topics then determine what we measure, how the measurements are made, and the geographic areas of interest. Some processes are local, such as the breaking of waves on a beach, some are regional, such as the influence of the North Pacific on Alaskan weather, and some are global, such as the influence of the oceans on changing climate and global warming.
If indeed, these reasons for the study of the ocean are important, lets begin a voyage of discovery. Any voyage needs a destination. What is ours?
|Department of Oceanography, Texas A&M University
Robert H. Stewart, firstname.lastname@example.org
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Updated on August 27, 2007