Oceanography is the study of the deep sea and shallow coastal oceans: biology, chemistry, geology and physics together make oceanography a richly interdisciplinary science. Although they contain most of the Earth's water and carbon and surface heat, and much of its biomass, the oceans do not operate alone. Together with the atmosphere, continents and ice-cover (the cry sphere), they form a working machine, driven mostly by energy from the Sun. Lesser amounts of energy derive from tides raised by the moon and Sun and planets, and heat from the Earth’s interior.
Oceanographers aim their work at both practical problems and basic scientific discovery. In the area of human health, for example, the oceans provide threats: they spawn and energize storms and hurricanes, endangering coastal populations (more than 1/2 of the worlds' population live within 50 km of the sea). Yet they also provide a bountiful diversity of food, are the reservoir of our water supply and most of the heat and carbon of the climate system, are the source of roughly half the respired oxygen of the biosphere, and contain most of the remaining undiscovered natural pharmaceuticals.
The physical climate of Earth, its patterns of temperature, cloud and rain, may be described as an argument between the atmosphere and oceans. To understand these, techniques of classical physics, chemistry, geology and biology are joined with modern instrumentation and computers.
The Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences offers a major degree. Students not intending to pursue graduate study but interested in oceanography can do majors in earth and ocean sciences comprised mainly of oceanography courses. The Honours programs are recommended for students who wish to go onto graduate study. The Honours program is structured so students will have a solid grounding in one or more of the basic sciences that make up the multidisciplinary field of oceanography.
Oceanography, also called oceanology or marine science, is a huge science considered a branch of the Earth sciences. Oceanography is an interdisciplinary science that uses insights from biology, chemistry, geology, meteorology, and physics to analyze ocean currents, marine ecosystems, ocean storms, waves, ocean plate tectonics, and features of the ocean floor, including exotic biomes such as cold seeps and hydrothermal vents. Modern oceanography began in the 1760s with science-minded explorers such as British James Cook and the French Antoine de Bougainville, who included oceanographic observations in reports of their journeys.