Oceanography also known as oceanology, is the study of the physical and biological aspects of the ocean. It is an Earth science, which covers a wide range of topics, including ecosystem dynamics and ocean currents, waves, and geophysical fluid dynamics, plate tectonics and the geology of the sea floor and fluxes of various chemical substances and physical properties within the ocean and across its boundaries. These diverse topics reflect multiple disciplines that oceanographers blend to further knowledge of the world ocean and understanding of processes withinastronomy, biology, chemistry, climatology, geography, geology, hydrology, meteorologyand physics. Paleoceanography studies the history of the oceans in the geologic past.
Branches of Oceanography
The study of oceanology is divided into four branches:
- Biological oceanography or marine biology: It investigates the ecology of marine organisms in the context of the physical, chemical and geological characteristics of their ocean environment and the biology of individual marine organisms.
- Chemical oceanography and ocean chemistry: It is the study of the chemistry of the ocean. Whereas chemical oceanography is primarily occupied with the study and understanding of seawater properties and its changes, ocean chemistry focuses primarily on the geochemical cycles.
- Geological oceanography: It is the study of the geology of the ocean floor including plate tectonics and paleoceanography.
- Physical oceanography: Physical oceanology is the study of relationship between the ocean’s physical properties, the atmosphere, and the seafloor and coast. They investigate ocean temperature, density, waves, tides, and currents. They also focus on how the ocean interacts with Earth’s atmosphere to produce our weather and climate systems.