Will I really swallow anything living if I gulp saltwater?

You just ingested a plethora of bacteria, exponentially less than that in terms of phytoplankton and then even fewer of zooplankton. Totaling several hundreds of millions of organisms – yup, that were living. Gulp. You will survive though. Just don’t make a habit out of it.

Also, it should be mentioned that there are a substantial amount of ions and elements in saltwater which make it unsuitable to drink on a daily basis. But, accidentally, once in a while after you have been knocked over by a wave – you’ll survive.

Do you have another great question? Check out www.beachchairscientist.com and let us know what you always ponder while digging your toes in the sand!

How much salt is in the ocean?

salt-773845The amount of salt in the ocean, known as ‘salinity’, is a measure of the of the amount of salt dissolved in 1000 grams of water. The amount is expressed as parts per thousands (ppt).

Refractometers are a tool used to measure the amount of salinity in the ocean. The salinity in the ocean is approximately 32 to 35 ppt. Freshwater has a salinity of zero. The estuaries fluctuate their salinity level depending upon the tides. But, it’s always below the open ocean. The poles have a lower salinity because the cold water does not evaporate as fast.

Do you have another great question? Email info@beachchairscientist.com and let us know what you always ponder while digging your toes in the sand!

Why is the ocean blue?

blueMy immediate answer is that the ocean had a rough day at the office.

A lot of people think it is because of the reflection of the sky, but, that is missing an important part of the puzzle. If you think about it the ocean is not really blue everywhere, is it?

What needs to be said is that sunlight particles may be reflected by the surface of the water, but, some may not. The sun contains all colors of the rainbow: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet. Yellow and red are absorbed immediately within the surface of the water leaving the green and blue to our naked eye.

What does this have to do with the fact that the ocean isn’t blue everywhere? Well, that all depends on what is in the oceans too. Different things absorb the sunlight differently. If the ocean floor is bare, the ocean appears crystalline blue. If there is a lot of plant life (phytoplankton, other plants or organic materials) it will generally appear greener.

But we’ve only scratched the surface here. Check back often at beachchairscientist.com for more insight about your favorite beach discoveries.

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