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By George L. Pickard and William J. Emery (Auth.)

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Extra resources for Descriptive Physical Oceanography. An Introduction

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There are two factors contributing to the blue colour of open ocean waters at low latitudes where there is little particulate matter. In deep water if one looks downward from below the surface, as when 28 DESCRIPTIVE PHYSICAL OCEANOGRAPHY snorkelling, the light which one sees is mainly that scattered by the molecules of the water. Because the molecules scatter the short-wave (blue) light much more than the long-wave (red) light the colour seen is selectively blue. In addition, because the red and yellow components of sunlight are rapidly absorbed in the upper few metres, the only light remaining to be scattered from the bulk of the water is the blue light.

Diurnal variations of salinity appear to be very small. 5 Dissolved Oxygen Distribution In addition to the solids dissolved in sea-water there are also gases. One which has been widely used as a water characteristic is oxygen, expressed as the number of millilitres of oxygen at NTP dissolved in one litre of sea-water (mL/L). The SI unit of /zmol/kg is coming into use but as mL/L are most common in the literature to date, this unit will be used in this text. ) The range of values found in the sea is from 0 to 8 mL/L, but a large proportion of values fall within the more limited range from 1 to 6 mL/L.

In certain regions, such as the Black Sea and the Cariaco Trench (off Venezula in the Caribbean), there is no oxygen but hydrogen sulphide is present instead (from the reduction of sulphate ion by bacteria). This indicates that the water has been stagnant there for a long time. The conspicuous oxygen minimum in the vertical profiles from between the tropics is apparent in the western Atlantic (Fig. 9), in the mid-Pacific 48 DESCRIPTIVE PHYSICAL OCEANOGRAPHY DISSOLVED 0 2 4 6 8 0 OXYGEN 2 4 I \ 0 2 4 6 8 j \ \ \PAC \ 12· N \ N , ATL 8#N I \ ATL 53 ·Ν \ PAC \ 50 ·Ν j 1 o 8 r \ \ 2000 mL/l 6 l 3 0 0 0 l· 1 I 5000 L FIG.

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