Chapter 2 - The Historical Setting
2.2 Eras of Oceanographic
The exploration of the sea can be divided, somewhat arbitrarily, into
various eras (Wust, 1964). I have extended his divisions through the end
of the 20th
Era of Surface Oceanography: Earliest times to 1873. The era is
characterized by systematic collection of mariners observations
of winds, currents, waves,
temperature, and other phenomena observable from the deck of sailing
ships. Notable examples include Halley s charts of the trade-winds, Franklin
of the Gulf Stream, and Matthew Fontaine Maury's Physical
the Sea .
Era of Deep-Sea Exploration: 1873-1914. Characterized by wide ranging
oceanographic expeditions to survey surface and subsurface conditions
near colonial claims.
The major example is the Challenger Expedition
(Figure 2.1), but also the Gazelle and Fram Expeditions.
||Figure 2.1 Example from the era of deep-sea
exploration: Track of the H.M.S. Challenger
during the British Challenger Expedition 1872-1876. From Wust (1964).
Era of National Systematic and National Surveys: 1925 1940. Characterized
by detailed surveys of colonial areas. Examples include Meteor surveys
of Atlantic (Figure 2.2), and and the Discovery Expeditions.
||Figure 2.2 Example of a survey from the era of national
systematic surveys. Track of the R/V Meteor during
the German Meteor Expedition. From Wust (1964).
New Methods: 1947-1956. Characterized by long surveys using new instruments
(Figure 2.3). Examples include seismic surveys of the Atlantic by
to Heezen's maps of the sea-floor.
|Figure 2.3 Example from the era of new methods. The cruises
of the R/V
Atlantis out of Woods Hole Oceanographic
Institution. From Wust (1964).
Era of International Cooperation: 1957-1978. Characterized by multi-national
surveys of oceans and studies of oceanic processes. Examples include the
Polar Front Program, the NORPAC cruises, the International Geophysical
Year cruises, and the International Decade of Ocean
Exploration (Figure 2.4). Multiship studies of oceanic processes include
MODE, POLYMODE, NORPAX, and JASIN experiments.
||Figure 2.4 Example from the era of international
cooperation. The sections in the International Geophysical Year Atlantic
Program 1957-1959. From Wust (1964).
Era of Satellites: 1978-1995. Characterized
by global surveys of oceanic processes from space. Examples include Seasat,
NOAA 6-10, NIMBUS-7, Geosat, Topex/Poseidon, and ERS-1.
Era of Earth System Science: 1995 -
Characterized by global studies of the interaction of biological, chemical,
and physical processes in the ocean and atmosphere and on land using in
situ (which mans from measurements made in the water) and space
data in numerical models. Oceanic examples include the World Ocean Circulation
Experiment (WOCE) (Figure 2.5) and Topex/Poseidon (Figure 2.6), the Joint
Global Ocean Flux Study (JGOFS), and the Global Ocean Data Assimilation
Experiment (GODAE), and the SeaWiFS, Jason, QuikScat, Aqua, and Terra satellites.
||Figure 2.5 World Ocean Circulation Experiment:
Tracks of research ships making a one-time global survey of the oceans
of the world. From World Ocean Circulation Experiment.
||Figure 2.6 Example from the era of satellites.
Topex/Poseidon tracks in the Pacific Ocean
during a 10-day repeat of the orbit. From Topex/Poseidon Project.