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evolution of oceanography

The Evolution of Oceanography:
- Getting to LEO

How large is the ocean? How deep is the ocean? What lives in the ocean? What causes the currents, and other conditions in the ocean, to change? Does the ocean affect the weather on land? How can we explore the ocean?

People have asked questions about the global ocean for thousands of years. Even so, we still know relatively little about this watery world compared to habitats on land. In fact, people have spent dramatically more time and money learning about outer space than we have about our own "inner space" here on Earth -- the ocean!



Ocean Observations
Think about some ways people have interacted with the ocean over time.
Then click on the image below to navigate through a timeline of Ocean Exploration.

Why is it important to study the ocean?
The ocean covers almost 75% of the planet. It affects the lives of every plant and animal on Earth (including people) either directly or indirectly. Take a moment to reflect on why you think it is important to study the ocean, and then compare your reasons to the ones below.
1.
The ocean is vast. It covers nearly 75% of the Earth's surface.
2.
The ocean is controls Earth's climate. It is tightly linked to the atmosphere, controlling the weather patterns around the globe.
3.
The ocean is diverse. It is believed that there may be more undiscovered species in the ocean than on land.
4.
The ocean is a valuable human resource. Much of our planet's population relies on the ocean as a major source of food, especially protein.
5.
The ocean helps maintain Earth's oxygen balance. It serves as a huge reservoir for carbon dioxide (CO2), which is critical to the chemical balance of the Earth's atmosphere.
6.
The ocean is vital to transportation. A majority of consumer goods are transported around the globe via the ocean.
7.
The ocean is a neighbor. More people than ever around the globe are living on or near the coast.
8.
The ocean offers employment. Many people directly or indirectly make a living from the ocean and its resources.

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