Book report: Oceanography: Exploring Earths Final Wilderness.
Title: Oceanography: Exploring Earths Final Wilderness.
Author: Professor Harold J. Tobin
University of Wisconsin – Madison
Why I chose this Book:
This book teaches me a lot of things about the ocean, how it is essential to life, climate, geological evolution and its effect on the ecosystem.
What I learned from this book:
The Global Ocean is a rich and diverse environment that has created the original development and evolution of life. The ocean controls the climate and distribution of energy on the planet has a vast resources and its watery mysteries have only begun to be explored.
Ocean exploration began with Polynesians, Phoenicians, Vikings and other early traders and settlers, who had to solve problems in navigation and map making. Nowadays, exploration technology maps the seabed using sound waves and the surface using satellites. We now know that the ocean basins are the results of plate tectonic process of seafloor spreading. The plains gives way to the shoring sea floor of the Continental slopes and shelves. Along the edges of some of the ocean basins, deep -sea trenches mark the location at which the destruction of the ocean floor is recycled back into the earth’s interior.
The Ocean itself contains 1.3 billion cubic kilometers of water. All of which has very similar chemistry because current keep it well mixed and it remains in a narrow range of temperature. These stable conditions originally allow life to evolve and exist predominantly in the ocean. Light penetrates the upper few hundred meters, and coral reef and kelp forest and plankton are the photosynthesizes and the foundation of the food web. Darkness below supports a diverse ecosystem of organism. These communities depends on the scavenging of food that rains down constantly form the sunlit waters above. Most fascinating of all the bottom communities are the hydrothermal hot-spring vents, where life is based on chemical energy instead of sunlight. The adaptations and life strategies of creatures ranging from sub-microscopic picoplankton, bacteria to fish, invertebrates and marine mammals utilize al available energy throughout the ocean.
All the water in the ocean is constantly in motion. Ocean waves are generated by the drag of wind blowing over water and can travel as swells thousands of miles from where they are generated. Tsunami and rogue waves are special classes of destructive waves, capable of traveling long distances across the ocean and striking with little warning. Tides are the longest waves; they result from the gravitational attraction of the Sun and Moon on the ocean’s water, modified by the irregular shapes of the sea floor and coastlines.
The atmosphere and ocean are intimately linked in their motions, driven by the uneven distribution of heat and modified by the Coriolis effect on all movements as earth rotates on its axis. These two phenomena are responsible for both prevailing wind patterns and all the major systems of surface currents in the world, such as the Gulf Stream and the Canary Current. In contract to the shallow currents, the bulk of the deep water in the ocean moves slowly in convection systems driven by gravity and density of saltwater, mixing the ocean. All these water movements control the conditions for biological productivity.
Human activity is causing major changes in the ocean. Intensive fishing is removing predators and preys alike, altering the ecosystem. Most of the added heat in the climate system trapped by Greenhouse gas is in the ocean, and the sea-level is rising. The rise is expected to accelerate in the future, affecting estuarine habitats, beaches, barrier islands and wetlands. Sea-level rise combined with the human construction activities extensively modify the natural deposition and erosion process on coastlines causing loss of beaches and natural barriers. Extra Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere is making the ocean more acidic, which affects organisms like coral and phytoplankton. Oil and gas production is also a concern about impacts from oil spills. Introduction of pollutant into the ocean affects coastal regions and the ocean.
With the pressure on the ocean environment, the future is going to be marred by growing pressure on the ecosystems, requiring cooperation from all countries to maintain the health of the ocean life support system.
How this book will contribute to my success upon release:
This book has enlightened me about the ocean and the problem we face in the future. I would like to volunteer my time to help preserve the ocean upon my release. It is my contribution to society.