At 1.33 billion cubic km and covering roughly one third of Earth’s total surface area, the global ocean is the largest body of water in the world. It’s mysteries have intrigued mankind over the course of history. Scientists have spent decades observing and understanding the wonders of the ocean. This course is designed to introduce students to the basic principles of oceanography through theory, observations and applications from its humble beginnings using Nansen bottles, up through the advent of satellites, automated vehicles, and drones. Basic physical and biogeochemical theory will allow students to explore satellite data and modeling techniques.
This course explores the basic principles of oceanography through theory, observations and applications. The first week is centered on theoretical physical oceanography and general characteristics of the ocean. This includes global ocean properties such as typical temperature and salinity profiles and distributions, the governing equations of motion, simplified balance equations, a description from small scale phenomena such waves to large scale phenomena such as oceanic gyres and meridional overturning circulation. A field trip to Narragansett Bay will take place where students will take a boat tour of the bay and make conductivity-temperature-depth (CTD) casts to observe temperature, salinity, and density profiles, launch a sediment grabber, view marine organisms on a microscope from a plankton tow, and view larger marine life from a bottom trawl.
The second week will entail more specialized lectures. The first two days introduce ocean biogeochemistry with emphasis on the carbon cycle and paleooceanography. The next two days focus on climate dynamics and air-sea interaction. On one of the preceding days a panel of scientists will visit so that students may ask questions to experts in the field. The last day will consist of a poster session attended by faculty, graduate students, and postdocs from the Earth, Environmental, and Planetary sciences department at Brown.
Students will be exposed to a variety of STEM subjects such as mathematics, physics, geology, chemistry, biology, and climatology, as well as gain valuable hands-on observational and computational experience. In addition, students will refine presentation, analytical reading and writing abilities. Above all, students will practice critical thinking and develop independent research skills.
Prerequisites: Exposure to computer programming, calculus, basic chemistry and physics will be helpful, but not necessary. These will all be used extensively throughout the course, however introductory and supplemental material will be provided, and the level of rigor will be adjusted to suite the class needs based on feedback from the students.
Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences, offering over 200 non-credit courses, one- to four-weeks long, taught on Brown’s campus. For students completing grades 9-12 by June 2020.Visit Program Page Information Sessions Learn How to Apply