Using satellite radar altimetry (which measures elevation) combined with previous data, researchers at UC San Diego have doubled the resolution of the previous decades-old ocean floor map. Large ocean features create a small "bump" in the sea surface above them; for example, a mile high volcano elevates the ocean surface by 10 centimeters. Read more
Updated map of ocean floor doubles resolution, reveals volcanoes, spreading centers
Global wind, precipitation, ocean current patterns
The most fundamental reason that Earth has wind is because it is a sphere (basically; it "bulges" slightly at the equator due to its rotation). Differential heating creates the winds, which are then rerouted by Earth's rotation and land-sea boundaries. In turn, winds influence precipitation patterns and indirectly drive ocean currents. This post will walk through the basics. If you don't want to read the whole thing, you can skip to the summary. Read more →
Evaporating seawater: evaporites and salinas
Salts form 3.5% (more commonly stated as 35 ppt) of seawater by mass. If you evaporate seawater, the following minerals precipitate out in this order (the reverse of their solubility):
1) Calcite (CaCO3)
2) Gypsum (CaSO4 * 2H2O)
3) Halite (NaCl)
4) Sylvite (KCl)
You can remember the order because it's alphabetical!
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Perpetual Ocean: hypnotic video of ocean surface currents
The Perpetual Ocean video by NASA is absolutely hypnotic, and lets the viewer appreciate large-scale and smaller-scale surface circulation patterns. The visualization was created using a model crunching satellite and in-situ data collected from June 2005 to December 2007. You can download the full-version at NASA's website.
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