Chemical and Physical
Properties of Seawater
Chapter 3, p 44 - 68
Properties of water
Waves and Tides
Brainstorm with a partner!
All 3 states of matter on Earth
Very polar molecule
Weak hydrogen bonds
Liquid à Gas
Hydrogen bonds broken
Density and temperature
Temperate and State
Less dense as a solid than a liquid.
Habitat and insulation for organisms
H+ bonds result in higher melting and freezing temp.
Latent heat of melting
Latent heat of melting – the amount of heat required
to melt a substance
Absorbs A LOT of heat when it melts –
Hydrogen bonds break, but motion of molecules does
not speed up until all of the ice melts.
It takes A LOT of energy to break hydrogen bonds!
Water is able to absorb a lot of heat with a relatively
small increase in temperature
HIGH heat capacity – amount of heat needed to raise
a substance’s temperature by a given amount
Important for marine organisms
Not exposed to rapid changes in temperatures
Latent heat of
One of highest of all substances on Earth
Only fastest moving molecules can break hydrogen
bonds and evaporate
Molecules left behind in the liquid phase have a
lower temperature – evaporative cooling
Properties of Seawater
Water is the universal solvent
Salinity – total amount
of salt dissolved in
Not just Na+ and Cl-
Lots of salts!
See p. 48, Table 3.1
Where do the salts
Where might ion concentrations of seawater differ from the
More salty = More dense
Lower temperature à more dense
Measuring temperature and salinity at specific points
in the ocean – Niskin bottles
Let’s take a look!
salinity at several
depths at once; above is
a temperature profile
or thermocline (zone of
Temperature and Salinity
SST of NE coast of the United States. Do you know the current?
Oxygen (O2) – not very soluble
Most released through photosynthesis
Amounts also dependent upon respiration
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) – more soluble
80% of dissolved CO2 is in ocean
Dissolve at surface of water or gases released into air
Gas dissolves best in cold water
Oxygen Content of Ocean
High oxygen content near
the sea surface
Low oxygen at mid-depth
Increase in oxygen in the
water ~ 1 km water below
CO2 in the Ocean
How is the fact that 80% of the world’s CO2 is found in
the ocean affecting our oceans?
CO2 is much more soluble than oxygen because it reacts chemically
when it dissolves
CO2 makes up more than 80% of the dissolved gas in the ocean,
compared to less than 0.04% of air
Ocean stores more than 50x as much total CO2 as the atmosphere.
CO2 + H2O + sun energy à C6H12O6 + O2
C6H12O6 + O2 à CO2 + H2O + energy
Must have the right light conditions to fuel
Light levels change with depth.
Visible Light Spectrum
Colors of the Ocean
Photos courtesy of www. science.nasa.gov
Depth of 30 m: Only blue light remains:
(a)Under natural lighting this sea star appears light blue, with the
tips of the arms almost black.
(b)A flash reveals the sea star’s true colors.
1. Photic zone – sunlit, 200 meters below the surface of the ocean
2. Twilight zone - from about 200 - 2000 meters below the surface.
3. Abyssal zone – no sunlight, from 2000 - 5000 meters below the
surface to the bottom of the ocean.
Light Penetration of
Pressure in the Ocean
Organisms on land are under 1 atm (14.7 lbs/sq in or
psi) at sea level. The weight of all the air above them.
Marine organisms are under the weight of water as
well as the atmosphere.
Since water is much heavier than air, marine
organisms are under much more pressure than those
As the pressure increases, gases are compressed. Gas
-filled structures inside organisms like air bladders,
floats, and lungs shrink or collapse.
Limits depth range of organisms
We need special equipment to go deep or special
instruments that can withstand pressure
Pressure in the Ocean
Currents move ocean waters around the world’s
oceans at different depths
Currents circulate heat, nutrients, pollution, and
Great affects on earth’s climate
New Gulf Current
The Coriolis Effect
If the Earth did not rotate on its axis, the atmosphere
would only circulate back and forth between the
poles and the equator
The Coriolis Effect
Because the Earth rotates on its axis, circulating air is
deflected toward the right in the Northern Hemisphere
and toward the left in the Southern Hemisphere. This
deflection is called the Coriolis effect.
Winds in atmosphere are driven by heat energy from
Equator is warmer than poles – more heat energy
Less dense hot air rises
Cooler air replaces it
Wind is formed!
Remember, winds to not travel straight, they are
bent by Coriolis Effect
Air near equator is warmed by solar heating and rises. Air from
higher latitudes moves in over the Earth’s surface to replace the
rising air, creating winds. The TRADE WINDS are deflected by the
Corliolis effect and approach the Equator at an angle of about 45°.
If the ocean current is regarded as layered, then each deeper layer
moves more slowly than the overlying layer.
Global Wind Patterns
The major wind patterns are created by the rising of sun-warmed air
and the sinking of cold air.
How do the continents effect the wind patterns?
Major Surface Currents
Created by wind-driven surface currents
Moderate climate by bringing warm water north and cold
Depth profiles for salinity,
temperature, and density
What is a thermocline and
how does it develop?
Seasonal vs. permanent
Stable water column = less dense shallow
and more dense deeper
Unstable water column = surface water
sink and mixes with deeper water
Polar regions in winter
These two water masses originate at the surface in the
extreme North and South Atlantic, then sink and spread
along the bottom.
The movement (circulation) of water in the ocean
over great distances that is driven by changes in
Changes in density determined by temperature and
“Fingerprint” of the water mass is how currents are
Circulation of the Ocean
The Great Ocean Conveyor – Global current pattern
Deep circulation of the oceans is part of the global
pattern known as great ocean conveyor. This constantly
replenishes the oxygen supply to the depths.
Water particles do not move along with a wave but instead move in
circles. When under the crest they move up and forward with the
wave, then they are pulled back down. As wave after wave passes,
the water and anything floating in or on it moves in circles.
Fetch - the span of open water
over which the wind blows
Fetch is important in
determining the size of waves
Wind starts the wave which
eventually settles out into a
swell as it gets farther from the
source of wind.
What kind of waves
-Storm winds generate seas, peaked with waves with relatively
- When the waves reach shallow water, they get higher and
shorter (closer together). They become unstable and break,
expending their energy on the shoreline.
- Water particles under swells have the ideal circular motion.
- In shallower water the influence of the bottom causes the
particle motion to flatten out into a back and forth movement
known as surge
Gravitational pull of the moon and
sun and by the rotations of the
earth, moon, and sun.
The moon and earth are held
together by gravitational attraction.
The moon’s gravity is strongest on
the side of the earth closest to the
Centrifugal force produced by the
earth’s motion causes water to
bulge outward, away from the
On the side of the earth closest to
the moon, the gravitational pull
overcomes the centrifugal force and
pulls the water into a bulge toward
How does a grunion (Leuresthes tenuis) use the tide?
Because the moon moves while the earth is rotating, a full tidal
cycle takes 50 minutes longer than the 24 hrs it takes the earth
to make a complete rotation.
1. Spring Tide - The tidal bulges are largest, and therefore the tidal
range is greatest, when the moon and sun are in line - new and full
2. Neap Tide - Tidal ranges smallest when moon and sun are puling
at right angles, which occurs when the moon is in quarter.
Semidiurnal tides – 2 high tides and 2 low tide per day
Bay of Fundy
How tides work: great demo
Worldwide distribution of semidurinal (2H, 2L), mixed semidiurnal
(2H and 2L of different heights), and diurnal (1H, 1L) tides.