Weekly Ocean News

WEEK ONE: 5-9 September 2011


Item of Interest --

Ocean in the News:


Concept of the Week: Touring the AMS Ocean Studies website

NOTE: This Concept for the Week is a repeat of that which appeared in last week's Weekly Ocean News.

Welcome to AMS Ocean Studies! You are embarking on a study of the world ocean and the role of the ocean in the Earth system. This unique teacher enhancement course focuses on the flow and transformations of energy and water into and out of the ocean, the internal properties and circulation of the ocean, interactions between the ocean and the other components of the Earth system, and the human/societal impacts on and responses to those interactions. Throughout this learning experience, you will be using the AMS Ocean Studies website to access and interpret a variety of environmental information, including recent observational data. The objective of this initial Concept of the Week is to explore features of the AMS Ocean Studies website.

On Monday of each week of the course, we will post the current Weekly Ocean News that includes Ocean in the News (a summary listing of recent events related to the ocean), Concept of the Week (an in-depth analysis of some topic related to the ocean in the Earth system), and Historical Events (a list of past events such as tsunamis or specific advances in the understanding of oceanography). When appropriate, a feature called Supplemental Information-In Greater Depth will be provided on some topic related to the principal theme of the week.

You will use the AMS Ocean Studies website to access and download the weekly "Current Ocean Studies" (plus supporting images) that complement Investigations found in your Ocean Studies Investigations Manual. These materials should be available Monday morning. Click the appropriate links to download and print these electronic Current Ocean Studies and answer forms as well as your Investigations Response forms.

The body of the AMS Ocean Studies website provides links to the Earth System, information on Physical & Chemical, Geological, and Biological aspects of the ocean, Atmosphere/Ocean Interaction, the Great Lakes, and extras-a glossary of terms, maps, educational links, and AMS Ocean Studies information. Following each section is a link to other sites that examine the various subsystems of the Earth system. Let's take a quick tour to become more familiar with the AMS Ocean Studies website.

Under Physical & Chemical, click on Sea Surface Temperatures. This image uses a color scale to depict the global pattern of sea surface temperatures (SSTs) (in degrees Celsius) averaged over a recent 7-day period and based on measurements by infrared sensors onboard Earth-orbiting satellites. (Depending on your browser, you may have to place your mouse cursor on the slide bar to the right and scroll down to view the entire image.) Compare SSTs in the Northern Hemisphere with those in the Southern Hemisphere. Return to the AMS Ocean Studies website.

Under Geological, click on Current Earthquake Activity. The USGS Current World Seismicity page provides a global map of the locations of seismic (earthquake) events color-coded for the past seven days. The size of the squares represents the magnitude of recent earthquakes. Note how earthquakes are concentrated along the margin of the Pacific Ocean. Details of recent earthquakes can be found by clicking on their map squares. Return to the AMS Ocean Studies website.

The ocean is home to a wide variety of habitats and organisms. Under Biological, click on Ocean "Color" (Productivity). This is a satellite-derived (SeaWiFS) color-coded map of biological productivity in the surface waters of the world ocean is averaged from October 1978 to date. Orange and red indicates the highest productivity, while dark blue and violet indicate the lowest productivity. Note the vast areas of relatively low productivity over the central regions of the subtropical ocean basins. Individual months within this period may be chosen for viewing. Now return to the AMS Ocean Studies website.

Under Atmosphere/Ocean Interaction, click on TRMM Tropical Rainfall. The TRMM (Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission) page includes color-coded maps of the Monthly Mean Rainrate (in mm per day) across the tropics for the last 30 days ending on the present date. Changes in rainfall are linked to large-scale shifts in the atmosphere/ocean circulation in the tropics. Now return to the AMS Ocean Studies website.

Take a few minutes when you have time to browse the other data and information sources available via the AMS Ocean Studies website. You should "bookmark" ("favorites") this page on your computer. Return frequently to learn more about the many resources on the ocean in the Earth system. Bon voyage!


Historical Events


Return to AMS Ocean Studies website

Prepared by AMS Ocean Central Staff and Edward J. Hopkins, Ph.D., email hopkins@meteor.wisc.edu
© Copyright, 2011, The American Meteorological Society.