What you will study
Is the sea-level really rising?
Why are there hot springs in the deep sea?
How does the ocean circulation control the global climate and fisheries?
If you would like to know the answers to these and similar questions, Oceanography is the module for you.
Oceanography is a ‘whole Earth’ science: the oceans interact continuously with the solid Earth and the atmosphere, and are the setting for much of the planet’s biological production. The Earth sciences, physics, chemistry and biology are all prominent in the module, because their interrelationship in the marine environment is the essence of oceanography.
A large proportion of the module is presented in a series of five volumes prepared by the module team and published in association with Butterworth-Heinemann. The other element is a set book, Biological Oceanography: an Introduction.
Book 1 The ocean basins – their structure and evolution is an introduction to the oceans and the ocean basins. It considers the ocean as a resource, the structure and composition of ocean crust and the effects of hydrothermal circulation.
Book 2 Seawater – its composition, properties and behaviour is about the composition, temperature and density of seawater, in particular with respect to different water masses; also the transmission of light and sound in the oceans.
Book 3 Ocean circulation – examines surface and deep currents, with emphasis on interactions between the ocean and the atmosphere, and the importance of the ocean for climate.
Book 4 Waves, tides and shallow-water processes – looks at the classification of deep-water and shallow-water waves; tides and tidal behaviour; the principles of sediment transport and deposition; tidal flats and estuaries; deltas; the beach zone; and the continental shelf.
Book 5 Marine biogeochemical cycles – describes the supply of terrigenous sediments to the deep sea, how the marine sedimentary record can be used to obtain information about past ocean environments and climate, and chemical fluxes and cycles in the ocean.
The module is designed to provide a scientific basis for:
understanding the oceanic environment and its interactions with the atmosphere and the solid Earth; how the oceans have changed with time, and the rates at which fundamental processes operate in the oceans
demonstrating the role and importance of the main scientific disciplines in oceanography, and the relationships between them
understanding the observational, experimental and theoretical methods that have led to our present knowledge of the geology of the ocean crust, the physical and chemical characteristics of ocean water, and marine ecology
understanding the dependence and effects of humans on the oceans
developing your skills in using data from more than one discipline in the analysis of oceanographic problems, and in the discussion and use of scientific information from recent oceanographic research papers.