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MAR 110: Introductory Oceanography

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1 MAR 110: Introductory Oceanography
Rev. 05 September 2006 MAR 110: Introductory Oceanography Earth in the ocean system Earth in the ocean system

2 Mars and the solar system, part 1
Mars has long been thought of having liquid water, but now much of the surface of the planet is an arid wasteland. There is evidence that liquid water once flowed over the surface of Mars, and there is liquid water in the planet’s polar ice caps, but the planet’s thin atmosphere and extremely cold temperatures (ranging from -60 °C at the equator to -123 °C at the poles) ensures that what water is at the surface is in the form of ice. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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Liquid water does appear to be a major component of the surface of some solar system objects, such as three moons of Jupiter: Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto. Actually, the moons are frozen at the surface, with water (kept liquid as a result of frictional heating generated by strong tides created by Jupiter’s gravity) beneath the frozen surface. Nevertheless, the Earth is the true water planet. Most of that water lies in the Earth’s oceans. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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Earth as a system A system is an interacting set of components that behave in an orderly way according to the laws of physics, chemistry, geology, and biology. As scientists gain a better understanding of how a system works, they can better predict how the system and its components will respond to changing conditions. The Earth system consists of four environmental spheres. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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Earth’s surface is a complex interface where four spheres meet, overlap, and interact. These spheres provide important organizing concepts for the systematic study of the geosciences: Geosphere (the solid, inorganic portion) Atmosphere (the gaseous envelope that surrounds Earth) Hydrosphere (water in all its forms) Biosphere (life and the places where it can exist) Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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The hydrosphere, part 1 The hydrosphere includes water in all three states of matter: solid, liquid, and gas. Water is unusual in that it occurs in all three states of matter under normal conditions at the Earth’s surface. Compartments of the hydrosphere The largest reservoir of water on Earth is the oceans, which cover 70.8 percent of the Earth’s surface, with an average depth of 3.8 km – but the oceans make up only 0.02 percent of the Earth’s mass. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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The hydrosphere, part 2 Compartments of the hydrosphere (continued): The second largest reservoir in the hydrosphere is glacial ice, with the Antarctic and Greenland ice packs the largest and second largest expanses of ice, respectively. Other reservoirs include land surface waters (lakes, rivers, etc.), subsurface waters (soil moisture and groundwater), the atmosphere (water vapor, clouds, and precipitation), and the biosphere (water in living organisms). Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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The hydrosphere, part 3 The hydrosphere is dynamic, with exchanges of water taking place within and between the reservoirs constantly. The oceans are the ultimate destination of water, however. The oceans and atmosphere are tightly coupled. Wind drives ocean currents. Wind-driven currents are limited to about 100 m in depth and take several months to cross an ocean basin. Deep-ocean currents are more sluggish and typically have little to do with wind, being driven by differences in water density produced by small differences in temperature and salinity. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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The hydrosphere, part 4 Ocean-atmosphere coupling (continued): Ocean currents (continued): The densest ocean waters form in polar and subpolar regions where salt, which is excluded from forming ice crystals, gets concentrated in the remaining water; additional cooling increases density. As dense ocean waters form in polar and subpolar regions, they sink and flow along the bottom of the oceans, thus forming deep currents that become part of the ocean conveyor belt system. The deep waters eventually diffuse to the surface and mix with surrounding waters, thus diluting the salinity. Heating and evaporation from the surface, however, increases the salinity and the hot, salty waters are transported back toward the poles, thus completing the conveyor belt system. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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The hydrosphere, part 5 The frozen portion of the hydrosphere is called the cryosphere. The cryosphere consists of glacial ice sheets, alpine glaciers, permafrost, pack ice, and ice bergs. A glacier is a mass of that flows internally under tremendous pressure. Glacial ice sheets, averaging about 3 km, cover most of Antarctica and Greenland. Antarctica contains 90 percent of the planet’s ice. Glacial ice cover about 10 percent of the Earth’s surface at present. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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The hydrosphere, part 6 The cryosphere (continued): Glaciers form where snowfall exceeds snowmelt. As snow accumulates, pressure of the overlying snow compacts snowflakes below into ice crystals; they may also trap gas bubbles recording the characteristics of the atmosphere at the time the snow fell. The pressure of the overlying snow and ice triggers flow of the ice mass down hill; the pressure is so great that the solid mass of ice flows like a fluid. Glaciers expand and contract with changes in climate. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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The hydrosphere, part 7 The cryosphere (continued): In some areas, such as Antarctica, Greenland, and Alaska, glaciers flow out into the sea. Antarctic ice forms large ice shelves. Portions of these ice shelves and glaciers can break off, forming ice bergs such as the one that led to the demise of the RMS Titanic. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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The atmosphere, part 1 The atmosphere is the thin layer of gases and suspended particles that surrounds the Earth; it extends into pore spaces in soils, caves, and mines. The atmosphere accounts for only about 0.07 percent of the mass of the Earth. The atmosphere is essential for life. Unlike water, air is compressible. Half of the atmosphere’s mass is concentrated within 5,500 m of the the Earth’s surface; 99 percent of the mass is concentrated within 32 km of the surface. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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The atmosphere, part 2 The atmosphere merges with interplanetary gases about 1,000 km above the surface. The atmosphere is layered, with the primary layers defined by thermal characteristics. The troposphere is the lowest layer; temperature decreases with altitude in the troposphere. The troposphere is the portion of the atmosphere that interacts with the hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere. Weather occurs in the troposphere. The troposphere contains 75 percent of the atmosphere’s mass and 99 percent of its water. Above the troposphere lies a transitional zone, the tropopause. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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The atmosphere, part 3 Atmospheric layers (continued): Above the tropopause is the stratosphere, about 10 to 50 km above the Earth’s surface; temperature increases with altitude in the stratosphere. The stratospheric ozone layer protects life from the ultraviolet layers of the sun. Above the stratosphere lies a transitional zone, the stratopause. Above the stratopause is the mesosphere, up to about 80 km above the surface; temperature decreases with elevation in the mesosphere. Above the mesosphere lies a transitional zone, the mesopause. The atmosphere is a mixture of gases. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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The atmosphere, part 4 Atmospheric layers (continued): Above the mesopause is the thermosphere; temperature increases with elevation in the thermosphere. Above the mesosphere lies a transitional zone, the mesopause. The atmosphere is a mixture of gases. Nitrogen (N2) is the most abundant, making up 78 percent of the atmosphere. Oxygen (O2) is second most abundant, making up 21 percent of the atmosphere. The concentration of water vapor (H2O), is variable both spatially and temporally. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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The atmosphere, part 5 The atmosphere also contains suspended particles called aerosols. The sources of aerosols include: soil particles, ocean spray, wildfires, volcanic eruptions, smokestacks and chimneys, vehicle exhaust. Aerosols serve as condensation nuclei; condensation nuclei are necessary for raindrop formation. Aerosols may reduce global warming by blocking some of the radiation from the sun; they may contribute to warming, however, at nighttime by radiating heat absorbed during the day. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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The atmosphere, part 6 Atmospheric water vapor is essential for life and is a major driver of the hydrologic cycle as well as weather and climate even though it never makes up more than 4 percent (by volume) of the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide (CO2) makes up only percent of the atmosphere, but is essential for life on Earth as it is one of the raw materials of photosynthesis. Ozone (O3) between 30 and 50 km in altitude shields life on Earth from ultraviolet radiation. It is considered a pollutant at the surface, however. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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The atmosphere, part 7 The atmosphere is constantly in motion; much of the motion redistributes solar energy from the tropics, where energy is at a surplus; to the poles, where energy is at a deficit. The motion is driven by temperature gradients from one region to another. The oceans contribute to this heat transfer. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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The geosphere, part 1 The geosphere is the solid portion of the planet, consisting of rocks, minerals, and sediments. Much of the geosphere cannot be observed directly. The deepest mining and drilling projects reach to only about 12 km below the surface. Most of what we know about the interior of the Earth comes from study of seismic (sound) waves that pass through it. Meteorites provide clues to the history and composition of the early Earth. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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The geosphere, part 2 The Earth has a number of layers. The crust is the outer, solid skin, ranging in thickness from 8 km under oceans to 70 km in continental mountain belts. Beneath the crust is the mantle, a rigid but fluid layer about 2,900 km thick. The crust and outer portion of the mantle comprise the lithosphere proper. Next is the molten outer core, which surrounds the solid inner core. The inner core is solid, but because of high temperatures and pressures, behaves as a fluid. The combined radius of the inner and outer core is about 3,500 km. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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The geosphere, part 3 Relief is the difference between the highest and lowest portions of the landscape. Internal versus external processes Internal processes lift up the land surface through tectonic activity, creating landforms that increase relief. Internal processes include volcanism and other forms of mountain building. External processes reduce relief by wearing down high places and filling in low places. External processes include weathering and erosion. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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The geosphere, part 4 Plate tectonics explains the structure of the surface of the Earth, including all volcanic activity and most earthquake activity. The Earth’s crust is divided into 12 major plates and a number of minor plates that are driven across the surface by convection currents in the mantle. The plates split apart, collide, and slide past each other, creating and destroying landforms in a process that has probably gone on for several billion years. Pangaea was a supercontinent made up of the other major land masses that broke up about 200 million years ago. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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The geosphere, part 5 Magma, hot molten rock, often wells up into fissures in the crust where it is splitting apart, or up through overlying rock in areas where crustal plates collide. Magma also wells up at hot spots, where a crustal plate drifts over a deep plume of rising magma. The Hawaiian Islands and Emperor Seamount Chain in the Pacific were created as the Pacific Plate drifted over a hot spot. Weathering is the physical disintegration, chemical decomposition, or solution of exposed rock. Weathering creates sediments, which in turn can be modified to form soil. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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The geosphere, part 6 Soil is the thin interface between the atmosphere and geosphere Soil = ƒ(cl,o,r,p,t) Soil characteristics are a function of climate, organisms, parent material (underlying rock), relief (terrain), and time. Soil characteristics influence nutrient availability. Poor soils are not suitable for agriculture without modification. Human activities can degrade soils and lead to soil loss via erosion. Erosion is the removal and transport of sediments and soil by gravity, water, glaciers, and wind. Sediments are deposited in low-lying basins. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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The geosphere, part 5 Magma, hot molten rock, often wells up into fissures in the crust where it is splitting apart, or up through overlying rock in areas where crustal plates collide. Magma also wells up at hot spots, where a crustal plate drifts over a deep plume of rising magma. The Hawaiian Islands and Emperor Seamount Chain in the Pacific were created as the Pacific Plate drifted over a hot spot. Weathering is the physical disintegration, chemical decomposition, or solution of exposed rock. Weathering creates sediments, which in turn can be modified to form soil. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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The biosphere, part 1 The biosphere consists of all the living organisms on Earth. Living organisms range in size from the smallest bacteria to the largest plants (redwoods) and animals (blue whales). Despite their small size, bacteria and other single-celled organisms dominate the biosphere. Organisms on land or above the surface live relatively close to the surface, whereas marine organisms live throughout the oceans’ depths. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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The biosphere, part 2 Most of life on Earth is tied to the other Earth subsystems via photosynthesis and cellular respiration. Photosynthesis is the process by which plants harvest light energy from the Sun and use it to power the assembly of sugars (CH2O) from carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O). Cellular respiration is the process by which organisms harvest energy stored in sugars and other organic compounds. Respiration requires oxygen (O2) and produces CO2 and H2O. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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The biosphere, part 3 Organisms interact with each other as well as with their physical and chemical environment in ecosystems. An ecosystem consists of the biotic and abiotic components of the environment in a particular location. Ecosystems can be described in terms of trophic levels, which are levels in a hierarchy of feeding relationships. The basic level is the producer level, photosynthetic or chemosynthetic organisms upon which all other levels – of consumers – ultimately depend. Herbivores feed on the producers. Carnivores feed on herbivores as well as other carnivores. Decomposers feed on everything. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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The biosphere, part 4 Organism interactions (continued): Feeding relationships can be described in terms of food chains, which are linear depictions of feeding relationships going from producers to top consumer; or they can be described (more realistically) in terms of food webs, with interactions within levels as well as across multiple levels. Estuaries are especially important type of ecosystems in the coastal zones. Freshwater life and marine life meet and mix in estuaries. The Chesapeake Bay, San Francisco Bay, and Puget Sound are among the most important estuaries in the United States. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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The biosphere, part 5 Energy is the capacity to do work. There are two types of energy. Kinetic energy is the energy of motion. Heat (thermal) energy is kinetic energy associated with the random movement of atoms or molecules. Potential energy is the energy possessed by matter as a result of location or structure. Chemical energy is potential energy available for release in a chemical reaction. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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The biosphere, part 6 Thermodynamics is the study of energy transformations. There are two types of thermodynamic systems. Closed systems do not exchange matter and/or energy with their surroundings. Open systems do exchange matter and/or energy with their surroundings. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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The biosphere, part 7 The first law of thermodynamics states that energy can be transferred and transformed, but never created nor destroyed. The second law of thermodynamics states that every energy transfer or transformation leads from more order to more disorder in the universe. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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Biogeochemical cycles are cycles of energy and nutrients though the biosphere, atmosphere, geosphere, and hydrosphere. Some of the major biogeochemical cycles include: Water Carbon Nitrogen Oxygen Phosphorus Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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For any given reservoir in a biogeochemical cycle, Input = Output + Storage Cycling rate is the amount of material that moves from one reservoir to another within a period of time. Residence time is the amount of time it takes for a substance in a reservoir to be completely replaced. The residence time of water ranges from about 10 days in the atmosphere to tens of thousands of years in glacial ice. Residence times for dissolved substances in seawater range from 100 years for aluminum to 260 million years for sodium. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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The carbon cycle Photosynthesis takes inorganic carbon (CO2) from the atmosphere and converts it to organic carbon (CH20). The sugars are converted into other compounds, such as other carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids. Organisms convert some of that organic carbon back into CO2. In the oceans, some CO2 is dissolved in the water. Marine organisms use that carbon, in the form of CaCO3, to make their shells. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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The carbon cycle (continued): As marine organisms die, their bodies sink to the bottom. The shells are buried under sediments, and under great pressure. In time, these deposits are converted to rocks such as limestone and dolostone. These rocks may be eventually uplifted and exposed to weathering and erosion. CO2 dissolved in water vapor (H2O) in the atmosphere forms carbonic acid (H2CO3), which contributes to the weathering of carbonate rocks. During the Carboniferous Period, from 280 million to 345 million years ago, trillions of metric tons of organic material was deposited in oceans and swamps, eventually giving rise to the coal and petroleum deposits upon which we depend for energy. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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The hydrologic cycle The hydrologic cycle is also called water cycle; It describes the movement of water among the hydrosphere, atmosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere. Water is also an important means of transport of materials in other biogeochemical cycles. Water is present in more or less constant amounts, being emitted by volcanic activity or deposited via meteorites; but it is also consumed in chemical reactions and destroyed via photodissociation. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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The hydrologic cycle (continued): Water enters the atmosphere via: Evaporation, in which liquid water is converted to water vapor; Transpiration, loss of water through the leaves of plants; and Sublimation, in which ice is converted to water vapor. Water enters the oceans via: Surface and groundwater runoff; Precipitation; and Melting of ice and runoff of meltwater. Water enters the land via: Deposition, in which water vapor is converted directly to ice. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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63 Satellite imagery, part 1
Satellite imagery (both still images and video) is a routine component of televised and Internet-based weather reports. Satellite images are obtained from space-based platforms that measure components of the electromagnetic spectrum, primarily in the infrared and visible range. The information obtained provides measurements of temperature and humidity, and it allows meteorologists to locate and track weather systems. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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Satellite platforms: Geostationary satellites orbit the Earth about 36,000 km above the surface. The speed with which they orbit the Earth matches the speed of the Earth’s rotation, thus they “sit” in the same spot above the surface. The subsatellite point – the location on the Earth’s surface directly below the satellite – is located along the equator. Two geostationary satellites, at 75 degrees W longitude and at 135 degrees W longitude, provide a complete view of much of North America and adjacent portions of the Atlantic and Pacific oceans up to about 60 degrees N latitude. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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Satellite platforms (continued): Polar-orbiting satellites orbit the Earth between about 800 and 1,000 km above the surface. The orbital track crosses both North and South polar regions. Each successive north-south track overlaps with the western edges of previous tracks, thus providing overlapping images of the Earth’s surface. Sun-synchronous satellites pass over the same area roughly twice every 24 hours. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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Sensors on weather satellites typically measure reflected sunlight or emitted infrared (IR) radiation. Visible images are essentially black-and-white photographs of the Earth, with highly reflective surfaces – such as ice caps or clouds – appearing bright white, and less reflective surfaces – such as boreal forests or oceans – appearing much darker. Cloud patterns on visible images are of particular interest, as meteorologists can determine the stage of development of a storm system in addition to its location. Useful visible imagery can only be obtained during daytime hours. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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Satellite imagery (continued): Infrared images are essentially a measure of heat radiation emitted by objects. Useful infrared imagery can be obtained at any time, day or night. Images are calibrated to show temperatures of objects in the field of view. In black-and-white images, the coldest objects are bright white, while the hottest objects are dark gray. In color images, the coldest objects appear blue and violet, while the hottest objects appear red and orange. Low clouds can be differentiated from high clouds, as high clouds are colder. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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Satellite imagery (continued): Water vapor satellite images use special infrared sensors to measure the amount of water vapor in the air. Water vapor does not appear on visible or on conventional infrared sensors. Such images allow meteorologists to track movement of plumes of moisture through the atmosphere. Current platforms measure water vapor concentrations between altitudes of about 5,000 m and 12,000 m. A gray scale is used, so that little or no water vapor appears black, while high concentrations appear milky white. Upper-level clouds appear as bright white blotches. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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Sounding Satellite imagery (continued): Water vapor satellite images use special infrared sensors to measure the amount of water vapor in the air. Water vapor does not appear on visible or on conventional infrared sensors. Such images allow meteorologists to track movement of plumes of moisture through the atmosphere. Current platforms measure water vapor concentrations between altitudes of about 5,000 m and 12,000 m. A gray scale is used, so that little or no water vapor appears black, while high concentrations appear milky white. Upper-level clouds appear as bright white blotches. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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Models, part 1 Models are often used in the effort to better understand atmospheric and oceanic processes. A scientific model is an approximation or simulation of a real-world system. A system is an entity that has components that function and interact in an orderly and predictable manner that can be described by fundamental physical principles. The Earth-atmosphere system is comprised of the Earth’s surface features, plus that of the atmosphere. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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Models, part 2 Models include only the essential elements (or elements perceived to be essential) of a system. Construction of a model often helps scientists determine which elements are essential or not. The simplicity of a model can help scientists gain important insights into how a system works. Models can also be used to predict how a system might respond to changes. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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Models, part 3 Models may be classified as conceptual, graphical, physical, or numerical. A conceptual model is an abstract idea that represents some fundamental law or relationship. A graphical model compiles and display data in a manner that readily conveys meaning (“A picture is worth a thousand words.”). A physical model is a miniaturized version of a system. An salt water aquarium is a miniaturized version of a coral reef. A numerical model consists of one or more equations that describe the relationship among variables in a system. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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Models, part 4 All models simulate reality. A weather map portrays the state of the atmosphere at a given time. Weather maps integrate observations from weather stations that may be hundreds of kilometers apart. Weather satellites offer a more complete field of view, but the spatial resolution of the satellites is limited. The predictions of numerical models may not be accurate since we cannot model everything relevant to weather processes. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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Humans alter biogeochemical cycles. Waste products and pollutants produced by human activities may have widespread effects. Agricultural and urban runoff may lead to nutrient pollution, which in turn promotes algal growth and leads to reduced oxygen concentrations available to other aquatic organisms. This happens every summer in the development of the Gulf of Mexico dead zone off the coast of Louisiana. Pollutants may contaminate food supplies. Overconsumption of marine resources. Rev. 05 September 2006 Earth in the ocean system

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