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ESSENTIALS TO OCEANOGRAPHY
The origin and properties of water
Planet earth is covered by water to about 70 percent. Scientists describe the water and ocean
formation on earth as a form of cooling and condensation of different atmospheric gases which
had different origin from the nebula cloud which condensed to become planet earth. Massive
eruptions from the earth in its development released large amounts of volatile gases from the
interior of the earth to the atmosphere, which cooled and also led to water formation. Scientists
therefore referred the process in which gases where released from the mantle as outgassing.
Those gases were said to be composed of mostly water vapor, with small amounts of carbon
dioxide, hydrogen and other gases. The formation of oceans is said to be the same as the
atmosphere. Through outgassing, water vapor cooled and condensed falling back to the earths’
surface, then accumulating and forming the first permanent oceans over 4 billion years ago.
Water is said to be a polar molecule because of its shape i.e. it has two different sides, one
positively charged and the other negatively charged. The molecule has one oxygen atom and two
hydrogen atoms which are covalently bended because of sharing electrons. Polarity affects the
properties of water in dissolving other substances, lowering the density of water when frozen
through water expansion and finally giving water a strong surface tension, high boiling and
freezing points because of the hydrogen bonds holding water molecules together.
Salinity is described as the amount of salt concentration in a specified amount of water expressed
in grams of salt per a kilogram of water. Ocean water salinity increases in places where there is
little rainfall but presence of warm dry winds causes the removal of water through evaporation
leaving salt hence increasing salinity. Salinity on the other hand lowers with increase in rainfall
diluting the saline sea water and also the addition of fresh water from rivers makes the ocean
water less saline.
Subtropical gyres have their center made up of high pressure zones. This implies that oce...