Office of Academic Affairs
Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Berhampur

Earth and Environmental Sciences

EES 310: Oceanography  (4)

Prerequisites:All 100 and 200 level CHM, EES, MTH and PHY courses

Learning Objectives:

Exploration of modern oceans is done from a wide range of perspectives, economic to social, encompassing fisheries, transport, mapping/extraction of mineral/petroleum resources, CO2 sinks,sea level rise, Tsunami prediction, ocean acidification, and human impacts on the health of coastal ecosystems. The importance of orbital, climate, and environmental conditions on various Earth surface processes can be learnt from marine fossil, geochemical, and isotope records.

Course Contents:

Unit-1: Geological Oceanography
Dimensions and morphological features of modern oceanic basins, and their time evolution in response of plate tectonics, continental ice cover and erosion; Dynamics of coastal environment and role of past sea level changes on its morphology; Marine sediments, their formation/degradation, types, spatial distribution and classification Roles of lysocline/CCD, productivity, monsoon, ocean circulation, and orbital controls on sedimentation; Types of measurements; Marine geophysical technology: natural gas and oil; Utilization geological archives.

Unit-2: Physical Oceanography
General features of the ocean, Physical properties of seawater and their spatial distributions; Spatio- temporal scales and forcing mechanisms of oceanic motions; Conservation laws, Surface water circulation by wind stress, tides, waves, gyres etc.; Mixed layer depth; Coriolis force and geostrophic currents; Ekman transport and upwelling; Seasonal coastal and major currents in the Indian Ocean; Causes and frequency of Tsunami; Water mass formation, and global thermo-haline circulation; T–S plots; Heat budget of oceans; El Niño Southern Oscillations; Indian Ocean dipole; Measurement principles (including ocean acoustics) and their scientific applications.

Unit-3: Chemical Oceanography
General chemistry and thermodynamics of seawater; Dissolved chemical constituents, their spatial distributions and measurements; Atmosphere–ocean coupling and exchange of gases; Henry’s law of gas solubility and its dependence on hydrographical properties of seawater; Penetration of anthropogenic CO2; Alkalinity and ocean acidification; pH scales; Organic matter degradation and redox reactions; Sources, sinks and internal cycling of various elements; Identification of oceanic processes using geochemical and isotope tracers.

Unit-4: Biological Oceanography
Basics of an ecosystem; Autotrophs and higher trophic levels; Planktonic and benthic ecology; Classification and global distributions of marine productivity; Redfield ratios of nutrients/micronutrients, and HNLC regions; Fe, N, P limitations; Depths of habitats and gametogenesis of forminifera; Vital effects; Human impacts on marine biota; Biological pump and its role in sequestration of atmospheric CO2 during glacial-interglacial cycles; Estimation of marine productivity using satellite imagery; Fish production and productivity in the Indian Ocean.

Suggested Readings :

  1. Talley, L. D., Pickard, G. L., Emery, W. J., Swift, J. H., 2005, Descriptive Physical Oceanography: An Introduction (6 th  revised Edition), Elsevier Academic Press.
  2. Fundamentals of ocean acoustics, 2003, L.M Brekhovskikh, Yu.P.Lysanov, Springer
  3. Emerson, S., and Hedges, J., 2008, Chemical Oceanography and the Marine Carbon Cycle (1 st  Edition), Cambridge University Press.
  4. Zeebe, R. E., and Wolf-Gladrow, D., 2001, CO2 in Seawater: Equilibrium, Kinetics and Isotopes  (1 st  Edition), Elsevier Science.
  5. Turekian, K. K., Holland, H. D., and Elderfield, H., 2003, The Oceans and Marine Geochemistry: Treatise on Geochemistry (1 st  Edition), Pergamon.

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