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Ocean Physics. Unit 5. Ocean Physics. Physical characteristics of the world ocean is determined by water’s properties of… Heat Capacity Density Salinity & Ability to Transmit Light and Sound. Thermostatic Properties. Ocean has a thermal inertia: it resists change in temperature.

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Ocean Physics


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    1. Ocean Physics Unit 5

    2. Ocean Physics Physical characteristics of the world ocean is determined by water’s properties of… Heat Capacity Density Salinity & Ability to Transmit Light and Sound

    3. Thermostatic Properties • Ocean has a thermal inertia: • it resists change in temperature. • The poles receive less solar energy because the sun’s angle is further away, as compared to the tropics. • The equator receives about 400% more solar energy than the poles. • Currents in the atmosphere and in the ocean move heat from the tropics to the poles. • ex. Gulf Stream • Ocean currents and weather are a result of unequal solar heating. • Heat transported by water vapor in atmosphere is greater than heat transported by water. • Weather accounts for 2/3 poleward heat • Ocean currents account for 1/3 poleward heat.

    4. Light in the Ocean • Refraction - bending of light waves, magnifying objects • Refractive index - The amount light is refracted from one medium to the next • The refractive index of seawater increases with salinity

    5. Light in the Ocean • Light is electromagnetic radiation that can have many wavelengths, other than just the visible spectrum. • Only green and blue wavelengths pass through water at any appreciable depths and quantities. • The ocean is the color it is because those colors are not absorbed but reflected back to you. • As you go deeper, colors are absorbed except for blue and green. • At 33 ft down, red appears gray. • Underwater pictures appear their true color because a light source is used. • Water color can also be a result of sediment, organisms (or lack there of), pollution or chemistry of water.

    6. Sound in the Ocean • Sound can travel great distances and 4-5x faster in water • Speed of sound is faster in high temperatures and pressure. • Sound is fastest at the surface and very deep. • Loud noises at deep depths (sound channel) can be heard for thousands of km. • Sound bounces off the thermocline to produce an area of poor sound transmission known as the shadow zone (subs hide here)

    7. Equipment • Hydrometer • ratio of the density of the liquid to the density of water • Calorimeter • measures heat capacity • pH meter/probe • Measures pH • Osmometer • measures osmotic pressure • Nansen bottle • salinity measured at different depths • bottle is sent down upside down on a string, flipped open at a desired depth, and a sample of water is taken • Salinometer • electronic electricity conductor • Refractometer • measures salinity by the degree the light is bent