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The Briny Deep
1. Introduction

The Briny Deep

1. Introduction
2.  Salt in Seawater?
3. Ions of Salt
4. Source of the Salt?
5. Salinity Variability
6.Salinity & Precipitation
7. Salinity Summary
8. Calculating Salinity
9. Ocean Temperature
10. Solar Radiation
11. Properties
12. Light Penetration
13. Temperature
14. Thermocline
15. Density
16. Layering


Don's Introduction

Portions of this expedition have been extracted with permission from:


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Objective: To learn about the Chemical and Physical Properties of the Ocean and their Role in Governing Oceanic Processes

"It is estimated that of the 332,500,000 cubic miles (mi3) (1,386,000,000 cubic kilometers (km3)) of the world's water supply, about 321,000,000 mi3 (1,338,000,000 km3) is stored in oceans. That is about 96.5 percent of the total volume on the planet. It is also estimated that the oceans supply about 90 percent of the evaporated water that goes into the water cycle.

Diagram of Hydrologic Cycle
Diagrams from U.S. Geological Survey

Pie Chart Showing Locations of Water on Earth

The oceans hold 96.5 percent of the total volume of water on the planet

Image from NASA

Recent studies has discussed the origin of water on this planet, principally due to the billions and billions of impacts of comets, "dirty snowballs" from outer speace.

The volume of water in the ocean varies, just a little bit, over time due to the waxing and waning of the polar ice caps and continental glaciers as a result of climate change.

During colder climatic periods more ice caps and glaciers form, and enough of the global water supply accumulates as ice to lessen the amounts in other parts of the water cycle. During the last ice age glaciers covered almost one-third of Earth's land mass, with the result being that the oceans were about 400 feet (122 meters) lower than today. During the last global "warm spell," about 125,000 years ago, the seas were about 18 feet (5.5. meters) higher than they are now. About three million years ago the oceans could have been up to 165 feet (50 meters) higher.

Positions of the Shoreline Over Time
Excerpt Modified from Water storage in oceans: Saline water existing in oceans and inland seas of the U.S. Geological Survey
©Copyright 1999
March 13, 1999

Send to Don Reed

Department of Geology
San Jose State University

How is the salt content in seawater measured? (Ocean Salinity)