Chapter 2 - The Historical Setting
2.6 Important Concepts
From the above, I hope you have learned:
- The ocean is not well known. What
we know is based on data collected from only a little more than a century
of oceanographic expeditions supplemented with satellite data collected since
- The basic description of the ocean is sufficient for describing the
time-averaged mean circulation of the ocean, and recent work is beginning
to describe the variability.
- Observations are essential for understanding the ocean. Few processes
have been predicted from theory before they were observed.
- Oceanographers rely more and more on large data sets produced by others. The sets have errors
and limitations which you must understand before using them.
- The planning of experiments is at least as important as conducting the experiment.
- Sampling errors arise when the observations, the samples,
are not representative of the process being studied. Sampling errors
are the largest source of error in oceanography.