Seawater Chemistry and Physics


Chemistry Topic outline:

  1. Structure of water
    1. Polarity
  2. Salinity of seawater
    1. Components of seawater
    2. Addition and removal of ocean salt
    3. Principle of Constant Proportions
    4. Processes that affect surface salinity


Physics Topic outline:

  1. Physical structure of ocean
    1. Density stratification
      1. Surface zone
      2. Thermocline,Halocline, Pycnocline
      3. Deep zone
  2. Light transmission in ocean
    1. Refraction, scattering, absorption
    2. Photic and aphotic zone
  3. Sound transmission in ocean
    1. Physical influences
      1. temperature & pressure
    2. Sofar layer


Interesting places to visit:

Why the ocean is salty -


Basic seawater chemistry -


Site on how things work:


Color data:


When you are finished with this topic, you should be able to answer these questions:

  1. Why is water a polar molecule?
  2. What condition of salinity makes it possible to determine the total salinity of ocean water by measuring one constituent?
  3. What processes can cause such the wide variations often observed in surface salinity?
  4. What factors affect the density of water and how?
  5. Why is the deep ocean blue-green in color?
  6. What are the three main zones of density structure in the ocean?
  7. What makes the Sofar layer such an efficient sound channel?