EE144 INTRODUCTION TO OCEANOGRAPHY
Oceanography is a branch of Earth Sciences that encompasses a variety of topics from ocean currents and plate tectonics to chemical fluxes and ecosystem dynamics. Over 70% of the earth’s surface is ocean - so learning about the oceans will help us to understand how the whole earth system functions. In addition, the oceans are not only one of the most important agents controlling global climate but they are also one of the chief sinks (and in some cases, sources) for many of the gases and chemical compounds about which mankind is worried (e.g., carbon dioxide and methane). As you might guess, an interdisciplinary approach is critical to understanding how the oceans function.
In this course we will examine all four major disciplines of oceanography including physical (e.g., waves, currents, tides, and the behavior of light and sound), geological (e.g., plate tectonics, weathering, coastal erosion), chemical (e.g., composition of seawater, interactions of seawater with the atmosphere), and biological (e.g. distribution and ecology of marine organisms). By the end of this course you will have a solid understanding of controls on oceanic circulation, the connection between the ocean and the atmosphere, the major chemical transport and reactions in the ocean, and the how organisms alter the ocean and vice versa. You will also learn about how human activities alter the ocean, and how the ocean makes our earth habitable.