Exploring Our Oceans
Oceanography from Space
5.2 Describe interactions between living things and between living things and their non-living surroundings.
6.1 Explain how ecosystems are maintained in terms of energy and matter.
4.1 Relate the occurrence of natural events to atmospheric changes and movements of the Earth's crust and mantle.
5.1 Describe the characteristics and applications of the transmission and reflection of energy in the form of heat, light and sound.
Satellites and Oceans
The use of satellites in obtaining information about the oceans is the latest major step forward in understanding the oceans, and the way in which they behave. A range of satellites are currently orbiting the earth collecting information about the surface below them. Satellites can record accurate information from the entire globe in less than ten days; compare this with the voyages of the Challenger Expeditions (1872 - 1876) which took over four years. Satellites are also often linked to sensors attached to buoys floating in the ocean to allow information from below the surface to be collected.
Some of the information passively collected by satellites includes sea surface temperatures and the amount of phytoplankton in the water. In contrast, by actively sending out signals and bouncing them off the surface of the ocean scientists can also accurately measure change in the surface height of the oceans over large distances. This information is very useful in measuring and predicting climate change due to events like the 'El Nino Southern Oscillation".