Friday, November 28, 2008

Introduction to Meteorology and Physical Oceanography

Meteorology (from Greek μετέωρος, metéōros, "high in the sky"; and -λογία, -logia) is the interdisciplinary scientific study of the atmosphere that focuses on weather processes and forecasting (in contrast with climatology). Meteorological phenomena are observable weather events which illuminate and are explained by the science of meteorology. Those events are bound by the variables that exist in Earth's atmosphere. They are temperature, air pressure, water vapor, and the gradients and interactions of each variable, and how they change in time. The majority of Earth's observed weather is located in the troposphere. [1] [2]

Meteorology, climatology, atmospheric physics, and atmospheric chemistry are sub-disciplines of the atmospheric sciences. Meteorology and hydrology compose the interdisciplinary field of hydrometeorology.

Interactions between Earth's atmosphere and the oceans are part of coupled ocean-atmosphere studies. Meteorology has application in many diverse fields such as the military, energy production, transport, agriculture and construction.

Physical oceanography is the study of physical conditions and physical processes within the ocean, especially the motions and physical properties of ocean waters.

Physical oceanography is one of several sub-domains into which oceanography is divided; others include biological, chemical and geological oceanographies.

Dimensions of Ocean

The oceans are far deeper than the continents are tall; examination of the earth's hypsographic curve shows that the average elevation of Earth's landmasses is only 840 metres (2,800 ft), while the ocean's average depth is 3,800 metres (12,000 ft). Though this apparent discrepancy is great, for both land and sea, the respective extremes such as mountains and trenches are rare.[1]

Area, volume plus mean and maximum depths of oceans (excluding adjacent seas)
Body Area (106km²) Volume (106km³) Mean depth (m) Maximum (m)
Pacific Ocean 165.2 707.6 4282 -10911
Atlantic Ocean 82.4 323.6 3926 -8605
Indian Ocean 73.4 291.0 3963 -8047
Southern Ocean 20.3

Arctic Ocean 14.1
Caribbean Sea 2.8


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