Chapter 1  A Voyage of Discovery
1.3 Organization Before beginning a voyage, we usually try to learn about the places we will visit. We look at maps and we consult travel guides. In this book, our guide will be the papers and books published by oceanographers. We begin with a brief overview of what is known about the oceans. We then proceed to a description of the ocean basins, for the shape of the seas influences the physical processes in the water. Next, we study the external forces, wind and heat, acting on the ocean, and the ocean's response. As we proceed, I bring in theory and observations as necessary. By the time we reach chapter 7, we will need to understand the equations describing dynamic response of the oceans. So we consider the equations of motion, the influence of Earth's rotation, and viscosity. This leads to a study of winddriven ocean currents, the geostrophic approximation, and the usefulness of conservation of vorticity. Toward the end, we consider some particular examples: the deep circulation, the equatorial ocean and El Niño, and the circulation of particular areas of the oceans. Next we look at the role of numerical models in describing the ocean. At the end, we study coastal processes, waves, tides, wave and tidal forecasting, tsunamis, and storm surges.


Department of Oceanography, Texas A&M University Robert H. Stewart, stewart@ocean.tamu.edu All contents copyright © 2005 Robert H. Stewart, All rights reserved Updated on August 29, 2005 