Oceans: our planet’s vital asset
Level 1 (CQFW Level 4), 10 Credits.
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A delight to sail on, catch fish in, swim on, or dive under, or simply to look at, our global ocean carries our valuable cargo, and many cruise-ship passengers, everywhere. Where did this awesome, yet beautiful, vital asset come from, what is within and under it, and how does it all go together?
Most of the world’s trade is still transported by sea, in huge petroleum (“oil”), container and bulk carriers, passenger cruises are big business, ferries link many populous island areas and sea fisheries provide much needed protein. All these economically critical activities are totally dependent on the ocean for their sustainability, hence knowledge of ocean processes such as waves and currents become all important., while fisheries biology requires an in-depth knowledge of nutrient flow and fish population dynamics.
- Oceanography defined. Basic overview of ocean physics, chemistry, geoscience and biology-laying the foundation, touching briefly on the history and evolution of the global ocean.
- Planetary water budget, reservoirs and fluxes.
- The ‘sea of air’ (the atmosphere), its two-way, vitally important, interaction with the global ocean.
- Air/sea interactions. Winds: the drivers of waves and currents, effects on vessels at sea.
- Thermohaline circulation (“conveyor belt” cartoon), ice, heat transport & the effects of present and past climate.
- The complexities of the Carbon Dioxide system in the oceans, photosynthesis, acidification, dissolution of carbonate, the enormous heat flows within the oceans.
- Sea life, the critically important process of upwelling, and sea fisheries, comment on mariculture and coastal marine pollution, touching on fish population dynamics
- Large and episodic waves, storm surges and mixing. Effects on large and small commercial cargo and passenger ships.
- Coastal currents, both wind- and tidal-driven, erosion of coasts and man-made structures, flooding.
- Marine trade and commerce-its crucial role in the world economy.
Who is this course for?
This is a course for anyone interested in developing an understanding of the Earth’s oceans.
Learning and Teaching
There will be a mixture of taught sessions and discussions.
Coursework and Assessment
To award credits we need to have evidence of the knowledge and skills you have gained or improved. Some of this has to be in a form that can be shown to external examiners so that we can be absolutely sure that standards are met across all courses and subjects.
The most important element of assessment is that it should enhance your learning. Our methods are designed to increase your confidence and we try very hard to devise ways of assessing you that are enjoyable and suitable for adults with busy lives.
- Pinet, Paul, R. 2003. Invitation to Oceanography, Jones & Bartlett, ISBN 0-7637-2588-9.
- Open University Course Team, 1995. Ocean Circulation, S330 volume 3, Open University, ISBN 0 08 036369-5.
- Open University Course Team, 1997. Waves, Tides and Shallow-Water, S330 volume 4, Open University, ISBN 0 7506 2827 8.
- William G. van Dorn, 1993 “Oceanography & Seamanship”, Cornell Maritime Press, Centreville, Maryland, USA, ISBN 0-87033-434-4
Library and Computing Facilities
As a student on this course you are entitled to join and use the University library and computing facilities. You can find out more about these facilities on our website www.cardiff.ac.uk/learn under Student Information, or by ringing the Centre on
(029) 2087 0000.
Accessibility of Courses
Our aim is access for all. We aim to provide a confidential advice and support service for any student with a long term medical condition, disability or specific learning difficulty. We are able to offer one-to-one advice about disability, pre-enrolment visits, liaison with tutors and co-ordinating lecturers, material in alternative formats, arrangements for accessible courses, assessment arrangements, loan equipment and Dyslexia screening. Please contact the Centre on (029) 2087 0000 for an information leaflet.
A range of further information can be found on our web site www.cardiff.ac.uk/learn or in Choices. This includes the times and dates of courses and an explanation of accreditation and credit levels.