Monday, February 20, 2017

World Ocean Database Project - 3

Fig. 1 Layer Four
In the posts prior to this one, I outlined some of the expectations I had about what the World Ocean Database (WOD) would reveal.

Expectations were that a Dredd Blog series or so would bring out useful data (World Ocean Database Project, 2).

One of the issues mentioned in the second post, which has not yet been fully covered is "Ocean Layer Content" such as Salinity, Oxygen, Chlorophyll, and Pressure (see WOD's User Manual, PDF, p. 19).

Fig. 2  Water temperature
So, in today's post let's talk about some of the content that we haven't talked about yet  (Fig. 3 - Fig. 6).

But, let's do so in the context of "mixing" (Fig. 7), since it plays into the parallel series (The Layered Approach To Big Water, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) and (On Thermal Expansion & Thermal Contraction, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13).

Fig. 3 Salinity
There are several subjects that have troubled the writers of oceanography and cryosphere textbooks in recent years.

For example: "Antarctica is stable and will not melt from climate change," which has recently morphed into "East Antarctica is stable and will not melt from climate change," which has now morphed into "East Antarctica is melting too."

Another example: "the ocean layers are stable and do not mix well," and this:
Stability as used here refers to vertical motions of ocean water. A system is described as stable if it tends to persist in its original state without changing. Following a disturbance (i.e., vertical motion), a stable system returns to its initial state or condition. As noted above, the usual stable state of the ocean features a layer of water that is warmest near its interface with the atmosphere (the mixed layer) and the mixed layer overlies water that becomes denser with increasing depth (the pycnocline). Strong storm winds may temporarily disturb this stable stratification bringing colder than usual water to the surface. Once the wind slackens, however, the original layered structure is soon restored.
(Ocean Motion, cf this). Those are two examples that have fallen by the wayside and are destined to become missing in upcoming, more accurate textbooks.

Fig. 4 Oxygen
As today's graphs show, temperature, salinity, oxygen, chlorophyll, and pressure at a given depth mix with those entities at other depths.

Even the deepest ocean bottom shows evidence that gross pollution has been reaching even there (‘Extremely High Levels’ Of Toxic Pollutants Found In Deepest Parts Of World’s Oceans).

Fig. 5  Chlorophyll
The clear picture in today's featured Layer Four (Fig. 1), as shown by today's graphs, is that the waters at all depths are mixing "more than previously expected" (Fig. 7).

Fig. 6 Pressure
Temperatures mix (Fig. 2), Salinity mixes (Fig. 3), Oxygen mixes (Fig. 4), Chlorophyll mixes (Fig. 5), and pressures mix down to a couple hundred meters (NOTE: at this time the data is sparse on the variable "pressure" in the CTD and PFL datasets).

The ocean is filled with pollution we can actually see (New Continent Found - Garbage Gyre II, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10).

Fig. 7 On Traditional Mixing Concepts
Thus, it is about time we revisited these old textbook doctrines or dogmas and open our eyes to what we are doing to the oceans and what the oceans are going to do to us (The Extinction of Robust Sea Ports, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9; cf. The Extinction of Chesapeake Bay Islands, The Extinction of Charleston, The Extinction of Philadelphia, The Extinction of Washington, D.C., The Extinction of Boston, The Extinction of Miami, The Extinction of Manzanillo, The Extinction of Houston, The Extinction of Providence).

By "us" I mean the human civilization that is currently treating its life support systems recklessly (Civilization Is Now On Suicide Watch, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8).

The previous post in this series is here.

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