From sea to shining sea, a flag for you and me!

I hope everyone enjoys a happy and safe Independence Day this 4th of July!

(Please be careful using fireworks. According to Mother Earth News, “Fireworks can unleash a shower of toxins into soil and water, and scientists are only beginning to figure out what that means for human health”. Also, don’t forget your boat safety skills. Instead, get creative for our new contest this summer!)

How much salt is in the ocean? Revisited

In late 2008, I wrote a very simple post explaining ‘salinity’ and the overall general amount of salt in the ocean. Now, with new data being collected by NASA (in a joint mission with Argentina) using the Aquarius instrument aboard a satellite, Satélite de Aplicaciones Científicas, we are able to more completely understand “How salty is the sea?” The satellite measures  the “brightness temperature” of the top centimeter layer of ocean waters.

June 10, 2012 marked was the one year anniversary this satellite has been in orbit. In the past year many finding have been confirmed using three sensors to collect approximately 3.6 million measurements (300,000 measurements per month)! For instance, 1) the Atlantic ocean is saltier than the Pacific ocean, 2) long rivers are responsible for massive plumes of freshwater that extend far into the sea (e.g., Mississippi River carry lots of freshwater into the Gulf of Mexico, the Kissimmee River, Lake Okeechobee, and the Everglades flowing into the Florida Keys region), and 3) rainfall along the equator’s rainforest create a significantly more diluted ocean than we once previously had envisioned.

Trivia question: Can anyone tell me the what you call the body of water where freshwater from rivers mix with the salty ocean water?

Check out the maps of the Saltiness of the Earth’s Ocean from Our Amazing Planet.

It’s a contest! So you think you know famous ocean explorers …

Can you tell me which accomplishments and/or quotes can be attributed to Sylvia Earle or Jacques Cousteau? Everyone that sends all 18 correct answers before I post the answers 10pm tomorrow will be entered in a drawing to win a copy of one of my favorite resources, Ocean (American Museum of Natural History, paperback edition). Send your responses to info@beachchairscientist.com. Good luck and have fun!

  1. Who said, “A lot of people attack the sea, I make love to it”?
  2. Who founded Deep Ocean Exploration and Research (DOER), now DOER Marine Operations, to design, operate, support and consult on manned and robotic sub-sea systems?
  3. Who began a worldwide petition campaign in 1990 to save Antarctica from mineral exploitation?
  4. Whose birthday is August 30th?
  5. Who led more than 50 expeditions worldwide totaling over 6,000 hours underwater?
  6. Who was integral in the development of the ocean conservation program, Mission Blue?
  7. Who, after a near fatal car crash, could not pursue initial dream of being a pilot?
  8. Who said, “I hope for your help to explore and protect the wild ocean in ways that will restore the health and, in so doing, secure hope for humankind. Health to the ocean means health for us”?
  9. Who said, “Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans”?
  10. Who has over 125 scientific and popular publications?
  11. Who was named TIME magazine’s first ‘Hero for the Planet’?
  12. Who received the Presidential Medal of Honor and the United Nations International Environmental Prize?
  13. Who discovered undersea dunes off the Bahama Islands?
  14. Who was honored by John Denver with a song titled, Calypso?
  15. Who said, “With every drop of water you drink, every breath you take, you’re connected to the sea. No matter where on Earth you live”?
  16. Whose birthday is June 11th?
  17. Who stated in an interview that they favored human population control?
  18. Who said, “The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever”?