Chapter 2 - The Historical Setting

Chapter 2 Contents

2.6 Important Concepts

From the above, I hope you have learned:

  1. 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 1978.

  2. 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.

  3. Observations are essential for understanding the ocean. Few processes have been predicted from theory before they were observed.

  4. 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.

  5. The planning of experiments is at least as important as conducting the experiment.

  6. 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.

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