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129 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back

covalent bonds

Shared electrons.

Polar Molecule

The opposite ends of a water molecule have opposite charges.

Hydrogen bonds

Bonds between water molecules.


A measure of the average kinetic energy of the atoms and molecules in the substance.


Three scales to measure temperature: Fahrenheit, Celsius, and Kelvin.


A measure of the total kinetic energy of the atoms and molecules in a substance.


How heat is measured. One calorie is the amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of 1g of water by 1˚C from 14.5˚-15.5˚.

Dew Point

Temperature of water vapor saturation.

Latent heat of fusion

The heat necessary to change the state of water between solid and liquid.

Latent heat of vaporization

The heat needed for a change between the liquid and vapor states.


The process of changing ice directly to gas.

Specific heat

The ability of a substance to give up or take in a given amount of heat and undergo large or small changes in temperature.

Heat capacity

The quantity of heat required to produce a unit change of temperature in the material.


Mass per unit volume of a substance.

Water density is usually measured in grams per cubic centimeter (g/cm^3)

Pure Water = 3.98˚C, the temperature of maximum density, or approximately 4˚C, and is 1 g/cm^3

Why are ice and water vapor less dense than liquid water?

Temperature is inversely proportional to density. However, water takes up more space as a solid than a liquid, because there are fewer water molecules per cubic centimeter.


A charged atom or group of atoms.


An ion with a positive charge.


An atom with a negative charge.

Ionic bonds

Electrons are transferred from a metal atom to a nonmetal atom, creating ions of opposite charge that attract each other.

Units of concentration

The concentration of dissolved constituents in seawater can be expressed by weight, by volume, or in molar terms.

Concentration expressed by weight

Concentrations are given as g/kg (parts per thousand)

mg/kg (parts per million)

ug/kg (parts per billion)

xpressed by volume




Express concentrations in molar terms

The mass of one mole of a substance, expressed in grams, is exactly equal to the substance's mean atomic or molecular weight.


The total quantity of dissolved salt in seawater.

Average ocean salinity is approximately 35%.

Major constituent ions

A total of eleven ions dissolved in seawater that account for 99.99% by weight of the ions in solution.

Trace element

An element dissolved in seawater at a concentration less than one part per million.

Conservative constituents

Component or property of seawater whose value changes only as a result of mixing, diffusion, and advection and not as a result of biological or chemical processes; for example, salinity.

Nonconservative constituents

Component or property of seawater whose value changes as a result of biological or chemical processes as well as by mixing, advection, and diffusion; for example, nutrients and oxygen in seawater.


Salts left behind as sedimentary deposits due to evaporation.


The adherence of ion and molecules onto a particle's surface.

Ion exchange

Strongly absorbable ions replace weakly absorbable ions.

Residence time

The average time a substance remains in solution in the ocean.

Principle of Constant Proportion/ Constant Composition

States that regardless of variations in salinity, the ratios between the amounts of major ions in open-ocean water are constant.


An instrument that measures electrical conductivity.

Chlorinity (CL%)

Chloride Concentration measured in parts per thousand or grams of chloride per kilogram of seawater.

Saturaiton concentration

The maximum amount of gas that can be held in any solution


The conversion of carbon dioxide to oxygen through plant respiration.

Euphotic zone

the lighted part of the ocean where photosynthesis occurs


Combine or become combined chemically with oxygen.

Compensation depth

The depth at which the rate of photosynthesis balances the rate of respiration.


Stripped of dissolved oxygen.




Oxygen values at the surface rising above the equilibrium (or saturation) value to 150% or more.

Biological pump

The transfer or carbon from carbon dioxide to organic molecules by photosynthesis results in the addition of carbon dioxide to the intermediate and deep-ocean water when the organic material sinks and decays.


The acidity or alkalinity of a solution, measured on a scale of 0 to 14

pH of seawater

Between 7.5 and 8.5


A substance that prevents sudden, or large, changes in the alkalinity or acidity of a solution.

Anthropogenic carbon dioxide

Carbon dioxide produced by human activities.

Keeling Curve

The most widely recognized instrument of human impact on the environment in existence.

Ocean acidification

The increasing concentration of carbon dioxide in the water causing a decrease in the pH of the water.

Solar constant

If Earth had no atmosphere, the intensity of solar radiation available on a surface at right angles to the Sun's rays would be two calories per square centimeter per minute.

Heat budget

To maintain a constant average temperature, Earth and its atmosphere must reradiate as much heat back to space as they receive from the sun.

Average salinity of the ocean


The total kinetic energy of atoms and molecules in a substance


What is latent heat of fusion?

Heat necessary to change the state of water from solid to liquid.

80 calories

What are the 3 most abundant dissolved gases in seawater

oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide

Where does the energy for Earth's weather come from?

The heat released during condensation in the atmosphere.

Zone of minimum sound velocity in which sound energy is refracted back and forth over great channels.

Sofar channel

What are the 6 major constituents of seawater according to their abundance by weight?

1) chloride

2) sodium

3) sulfate

4) magnesium

5) calcium

6) potassium

Heat is directly transmitted from its source


Heated fluid moves and carries heat to a new location


What is the principle of constant proportion of seawater?

It states ratios between major ions in open ocean waters are constant

Energy is passed from molecule to adjacent molecule


What is the measure of a fluid's resistance to flow?


The average kinetic energy of atoms and molecules in a substance


latent heat of vaporization

540 calories

How does sound travel in differently in water than in air? What factors influence this?

Sound travels faster in water.

Affected by depth, temperature, salinity.

What is the heat capacity of water?

1 calorie to raise 1 g or water to 1˚C

What determines heat capacity?

Heat and mass


The decrease in light intensity over distance in water.

What types of light attenuate rapidly in water

red and UV

What are the consequences of light refraction in water?

The object observed appears to be in a different location. This is because light in entering a substance of a different density, and the light bends because water is denser than air and changes the speed of light.

What are zones where sound cannot penetrate called?

Sound shadow zones

Atmospheric Pressure

The force with which a column of overlying air presses on an area of Earth's surface.

Low-pressure zone

Where the density of air is less than average, atmospheric pressure is below average.

High-pressure zones

Regions of air with a density greater than average.

Coriolis Effect

The deflection of moving air relative to the Earth's surface.

Trade Winds

Between 0-30˚


Between 30-60˚

Polar easterlies



The area of rising air at the equator.

Horse latitudes

High-pressure areas at 30˚N and 30˚S

Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ)

The zone of low pressure and rising area near the equator.


Seasonal changes in atmospheric circulation and precipitation associated with the asymmetric heating of land and sea.

Onshore Breeze

During daylight, the land is warmed faster than the water, and the air over the water moves inland to replace it.

Offshore breeze

At night, the land cools rapidly, and the water becomes warmer than the land, and the air over land replaces it.

Rain shadow

A region having little rainfall because it is sheltered from prevailing rain-bearing winds by a range of hills.

Orographic effect

The control of precipitation patterns to to elevation changes.


Intense atmospheric zones.


A tropical storm in the region of the Indian or western Pacific oceans.

Storm Surge

A rising of the sea as a result of atmospheric pressure changes and wind associated with a storm.

Storm tide

Maximum sea surface elevation occurs when storm surge coincides with high tide.

Mixed layer

It is an isothermal layer--a layer of constant temperature. Active turbulence has homogenized some range of depths. The surface mixed layer is a layer where this turbulence is generated by winds, surface heat fluxes, or processes such as evaporation or sea ice formation which result in an increase in salinity.


Temperature decreases rapidly throughout much of the ocean. Frequently known as the “permanent thermocline” because seasonal changes in climate at the surface do not influence water temperature at these depths.


A layer of constant temperature


Vertical zone in the oceanic water column in which salinity changes rapidly with depth, located below the well-mixed, uniformly saline surface water layer.


Boundary separating two liquid layers of different densities.

Stable water column

Density of water increases with depth.

Unstable water column

Higher density water on top of lower density water.

Continuity of flow

Because water is a fixed quantity in the oceans, it cannot be accumulated at one location or removed at another location without movement of water between those locations.

Thermohaline circulation

The movement of seawater in a pattern of flow dependent on variations in temperature, which give rise to changes in salt content and hence in density.

Downwelling zones

Areas of thermohaline circulation where water sinks. Downwelling is a mechanism that transports oxygen-rich surface water to depth, where it is needed for deep-living animals.

Upwelling zones

Areas of rising water. Upwelling returns low oxygen-content water with dissolved, decay-produced nutrients to the surface, where the nutrients act as fertilizers to promote photosynthesis and the production of more oxygen in the sunlit surface waters.


When the surface waters are driven together by the wind or against a coast. Water downwekks


When the wind blows surface waters away from an area or a coast. Water upwells.


A layer of constant density.


A layer of constant salinity.

Water type

Seawater samples from a common source that all plot very near each other on a T-S diagram, with a narrow range of temperature and salinity.


The mixing of two water masses to produce a blend that sinks because of it is denser than its original components. This occurs when two water masses have the same density but different temperatures and salinities.

Water mass

A large body of water that has similar values of temperature and salinity throughout. Water masses can be identified by measuring water temperature and salinity along vertical profiles in the ocean and plotting these data on a T-S diagram.

North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW)

A deep water mass formed in the North Atlantic Ocean. Thermohaline circulation of the world's oceans involves the flow of warm surface waters from the southern hemisphere into the North Atlantic.

Antarctic Intermediate Water (AAIW)

A cold, relatively low salinity water mass found mostly at intermediate depths in the Southern Ocean. The AAIW is formed at the ocean surface in the Antarctic Convergence zone or more commonly called the Antarctic Polar Front zone.

Antarctic Bottom Water (AABW)

A type of water mass in the Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica with temperatures ranging from -0.8 to 2 °C (31 °F), salinities from 34.6 to 34.7 psu.

South Atlantic Surface Water

Split water moving northward from north atlantic deep water.

Mediterranean Intermediate Water

Intermediate density water that sinks in the North Atlantic to a depth of approximately 1000 m.

Ekman spiral

A structure of currents or winds near a horizontal boundary in which the flow direction rotates as one moves away from the boundary.

Ekman layer

The layer in a fluid where there is a force balance between pressure gradient force, Coriolis force and turbulent drag.

Ekman transport

Coriolis effect deflects surface so it moves in direction that is shifted 45˚ from wind direction.


Large, circular-motion, wind-driven current systems.

Geostrophic flow

A balance develops between the Coriolis force and the force arising from the horizontal water pressure gradient such that surface currents flow parallel to the contours of elevation of sea level.


A current, as of water or air, moving in a direction that is different from that of the main current. Eddies generally involve circular motion; unstable patterns of eddies are often called turbulence.

Langmuir cells

Shallow circulation cells composed of paired right- and left-handed helixes.

Tropical convergence


Subtropical convergences

30˚-40˚ N and S

Arctic and Antarctic Convergences

Found at about 50˚ N and S

Tropical and antarctic divergences

Upwelling associated with divergences delivers nutrients to the surface waters to supply the food chains that support fisheries.

Equatorial Circulation

Lower latitude arms are driven by trade winds and deflected west by Coriolis.

Coastal Upwelling

Warm water pushed offshore, sea surface height decreases onshore, cold & high-nutrient water pulled to surface, thermocline shallower nearshore.

Seasonal coastal upwelling

The ocean has a lower pressure and the land has a higher pressure. Land with higher pressure means it’s winter. This is because cold air is sinking and building pressure.