The oceans cover 75% of our planet’s surface area, and consequently play a major role in the Earth System. They also present a fascinating environment that is physically, chemically, and biologically different from the land environment we humans are used to. The objectives of this course are to provide a strong foundation in the principles of oceanography, with a primary focus on physical and chemical oceanography at a global scale, and throughout the full depth of the ocean. The course will begin by considering physical ocean circulation, including interactions between the ocean and climate. We will then examine ocean chemistry and its interactions with ocean biology, especially nutrient cycling, biological production and decomposition, and ocean carbon uptake. As part of that, we will consider how chemical tracers can shed light on oceanographic processes, and we will wrap up with a look at optical oceanography.
By the end of this course, you (as a student) will be able to:
- Explain global patterns of ocean circulation, and identify and trace different water masses based on their physical and chemical properties;
- Interpret distributions of oceanographic tracers to diagnose processes and estimate their rates;
- Analyse the coupling between the ocean biogeochemical cycles of carbon and several nutrient elements;
- Analyse and interpret real-world oceanographic data;
- Explain the connections and interactions between physical, chemical, and biological oceanographic processes;