Oceanography

Oceanography is the study of the biological and physical properties of the world’s largest bodies of water, the oceans.

Oceanography is a branch of Earth science and geography that studies the oceans, including their physical and biological aspects, as well as the interactions between the oceans and the atmosphere, land, and other bodies of water. It involves the study of ocean currents, waves, tides, temperature, salinity, and other physical characteristics, as well as the diverse array of marine life that inhabits the world’s oceans.

A satellite image of Vancouver island showing puffy clouds and swirling green phytoplankton blooms.

Phytoplankton Blooms in the Northeast Pacific Ocean

Caitlin Dempsey

During summer in the Northeast Pacific Ocean, phytoplankton blooms proliferate due to the nutrient-rich upwelling along the continental shelf.

A map of the world showing the global ocean current with warmer waters in red and cold currents in blue.

Potential Collapse of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation

Mark Altaweel

A new study predicts that the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation (AMOC) could potentially collapse within this century.

A gray shaded relief map with a rainbow categorization showing the densities of sargassum in the Atlantic Ocean.

Sargassum in the Atlantic Ocean Reaches a New Spring High

Caitlin Dempsey

Researchers using remote sensing data from NASA's Aqua and Terra satellites have measured the largest ever March density in the Great Sargassum Belt.

Map showing the Indian Ocean, Oman Sea, and the Red Sea. Map: Epmistes, MediaWiki Commons.

What is the Difference Between a Sea and an Ocean?

Caitlin Dempsey

A look at the geographic definitions of oceans and seas.

A girl with a white sweatshirt and black leggings dances in the shallow water of the beach by the ocean. Her back is to the camera and the sun is shining with a clear blue sky.

Oceans Produce Half of the World’s Oxygen

Caitlin Dempsey

The oceans produce over half of the oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere, making them a vital source of oxygen for life on our planet.