SOME TERMS

These are "rough" defintions to remind you what the term means. For the absolute technical definitions consult a scientific dictionary.


Absolute zero: The lowest possible temperature 273.15C or 459.67F

Anthropomorphism: Attributing human characteristics to non humans.

Aphotic: The layer of the ocean below the "dysphotic" where there is no light. (see also "bathypelagic" and "hadalpelagic")

Atom: The smallest unit of an element.

Atmosphere: The air surrounding the Earth.

Autotroph: An organism which can manufacture its own food either by photosynthesis or chemosynthesis.

Bathypelagic: The area of the ocean below the mesopelagic. Sometimes refered to as "aphotic".

Beaufort Wind Scale: a scale used to measure the speed of winds, Benthic: Organisms living on or in the ocean floor (see also "infauna" and "epifauna")

Biosphere: The living organisms.

Breakers: A wave which whose base has contacted the bottom and is beginning to collapse. There are three tyoes associated with difrferent shore steepnesses:

(a) Spilling breakers
(b) plunging breakers
(c) surging breakers

Celsius: Same as centigrade. One of several scales measuring temperature. (see also Rankine, Fahrenheit and Kelvin). Celsius uses the freezing point of fresh water as zero and the boiling point of
     water as 100. Its degree is 1.8 times greater than the Fahrenheit degree.

Centigrade: One of several scales measuring temperature. (see also Rankine, Fahrenheit and Kelvin). Celsius uses the freezing point of fresh water as zero and the boiling point of water as 100. Its
      degree is 1.8 times greater than the Fahrenheit degree.

Chemosynthesis: The process by which an organism can manufacture food by using chemicals raher than sunlight. In one form, oxygen (O2), hydrogen sulfide H2S and carbon dioxide (CO2 produce sugar (CH20),
      sulfur (S), and water (H20). There are other formulas used by different organisms.

The formula for chemosynthesis is CO2 + 4H2S + O2 -> CH20 + 4S + 3H2O Coriolis Effect: An effect caused by the rotating earth (or any sphere) in which movement in the northern hemisphere deflects to the right, and in the southern hemisphere deflects to the left. This has an impact on both atmosphereic and water movements over large areas. The effect is greatest near the poles and virtually vanishes at the equator. Cultural Relativism: A method of nalysis in which the categories used to study a culture come from that culture. (see also Moral relativism, cultural relativism and ethnocentrism)

Dysphotic: The layer of the ocean below the Euphotic, where there is some light but not enough for photosynthesis. (see also "mesopelagic")

Epifauna: Animals living on the surface of the floor of the ocean (see also "infauna" and "benthic")

Epipelagic: The uppermost area of the ocean. (See also "Euphotic").

Ethnocentrism The use of categories from one's own culture used to analyze a different culture (see also "cultural relativism" and "moral absolutism"

Euphotic: The upper layer of the ocean especially with reference to where there is sufficient light for photosythesis. (see also "epipelagic")

Fahrenheit: One of several scales measuring temperature. (see also Rankine, Celsius and Kelvin). Fahrenheit uses the freezing point of brine (sea water) as zero and the boiling point of water
     as 212. Its degree is 5/9 of the Celsius degree.

Ferrel cell: The ferrel cell is the movement of air which is sinking at about 30 degrees and rising at about 60 degrees. The energy for the movement is largely from the Hadley cell which is closer to the equator on one side of the Ferrel cell and the Polar cell which is on the poles side of the Ferrel cell. (see also Polar cell and Hadley cell)

Fetch: The distance across which the wind blows without interruption.

Fujita scale: A scale for measuring the intestity of a tornado based on wind speed. An F0 tornado has winds of 40 mph. An "enhanced Fujita scale" is also used which indicates speed and damage. An EF-0 in EF Scale starts at 65 mph

Hadalpelagic: The deep part of the ocean found in the deep marine trenches.

Hadley cells: an atmospheric cell in which warm air over the equator rises and moves toward the poles. At about 30 degrees toward the pole the air becomes cooler and heavier and sinks. It then returns to the equator. (See also Ferrell Cells and polar cells)

Heterotroph: an organism which has to eat. It can not make its own food.

Hurricane a sustained wind of more than 74 miles per hour. Hurricanes develop around low pressure areas and rotate counterclockwise in the N. hemisphere and clockwise in the S. hemisphere.

Hydrosphere: The waters of the Earth.

Infauna: Animals that are fuond just under the ocean floor (see also "benthic" and "epifauna")

Intertidal: The area between high and low tides. Sometimes called "Littoral". It is under water part of the day and in the air part of the day.

Kelvin: One of several scales measuring temperature (see also Rankine, Fahrenheit and Celsius). Kelvin uses absolute zero as its "zero" and uses the Celsius degree.

Lithosphere: The outermost shell of the Earth. (the crust and the upper mantle).

Mercalli scale A scale to measure earthquakes and the damage they cause

Mesopelagic: The layer of water below the epipelagic. There is some light here but not enough for photosynthesis. (see also "dysphotic").

Molecule: The smallest unit of a compound (that is 2 or more atoms).

Moral absolutism: The idea that morals are consistant across time, place and situation. (see also Moral relativism, cultural relativism and ethnocentrism).

Moral relativism: The idea that morals are relative to a given time, place or situation (see also Moral absolutism, cultural relativism and ethnocentrism).

Neap Tides: The lowest tides. Associated with the first and thrid quarter moons.

Nekton: Organisms that can swim.

Neritic: The area of the ocea about the continental shelf

Photosynthesis: The process whereby an organism can manufacture sugar by taking in Carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H20) and turning then into a sugar (C6H12O6 and Oxygen (O2).
The formula usually is written as 6CO2 + 6H2O > C6H12O6 + 6O2 in the presence of chlorophyll and sunlight.

Pelagic: The area of the ocean above the abyssal plain (beyond the continental shelf).

Plankton: Organisms which can not swim against a slight current (see also Nekton)

Plunging wave: A wave which approaches a moderately sloped shore. The wave "curls" and is often associated with surfing. (See also "breakers")

Polar cell: An atmospheric cell in which cold air over the pole sinks and moves toward the equator. At about 60 degrees (N or S) it is warm enough to rise. As it rises it cools and moves toward the pole cooling as it goes, and then sinking again. (see also Hadley cell and Ferrel cell)

Primary Producer: An organism which uses sulight (photosynthesis) or chemicals (chemosynthesis) to make food. An autotroph.

Richter scale A scale used to measure the intensity of earthquakes.(See also Mercalli scale)

Rogue Wave: A wave more than 2 times the height of the "Significant Wave Height" (SWH).

Significant Wave Height: (SWH) The mean of the largest third of the waves.

Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale: A five point scale used to measure the strength of a hurricane (see also hurricane).

Spring Tides: The highest monthly tides. Associated with new and full moons.

spilling wave Waves which strike a shreline with a nearly horizontal slope. "Breaks" far out from the shore. (See also "Breakers". Surging wave A wave which comes onto a shore with a steep incline. It doesn't "break" but hits the shore hard causing rapid erosion. (see also Breakers>

Tectonic Plates: Varios plates in the Earth's rigid outer part called the "lithosphere". These "float" on the materials below and are associated with "continental drift"

Tidal Wave: A wave formed in a river or narrow inlet in which the incoming tide moves with sufficient speed and power to cause a wave to form which "puches" its way upstream.

Tides: Water movement caused by the gravitational pull of the sun and moon and centripedal forces.

Trophic Levels: The degree an organism is distanced from the primary producers. A "grazer", for example, that eats a plant would be one level above the primary producer.

Tsunami: Japanese for "harbor wave" A "seismic" wave. One caused by underea earthquakes, volcanic eruption or anything causing changes in the ocean basin.

Wave Base: The depth in the water beyond which there is no noticible orbital motion of water particles. Generally about 1/2 the wavelength.

Water spout: A tornado which occurs over water.

Wave Crests: The highest part of the wave.

Wave Height: The distance from the wave trough to the wave crest.

Wave Length: The distance between the crests of 2 waves.

Wave Trough: The lowest part of the wave (found between two wave crests).