OSU OC 103 - e-OC103_Lesson02-2 (9 pages)

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e-OC103_Lesson02-2



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e-OC103_Lesson02-2

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Pages:
9
School:
Oregon State University
Course:
Oc 103 - Exploring The Deep: Geography Of The World's Oceans

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OC103 Lesson 2 Ocean Exploration in the Past Development of a Science Historical Review of Oceanography The roots of oceanography can be traced to ocean exploration by ancient civilizations Whether it was the early Polynesians in open canoes exploring the South Pacific for new island homes see shaded area of the Pacific Ocean in the figure below or Egyptians exploring their coastline for new fishing grounds and trade routes the earliest explorers had to be able to chart their courses using the stars and landmarks a process known as piloting They also used dead reckoning which relies on guessing your heading and speed over the course of hours or days Knowledge of ocean currents and prevailing winds are crucial to accurate dead reckoning so early sailors started the tradition of keeping detailed records of oceanic and atmospheric conditions during their travels They could therefore be considered the first oceanographers The fact was in the early days sailors who had been out of sight of land for more than a few days often did not know where they were Sure their compass told them what direction they were heading and they could make a pretty accurate guess at how fast they were sailing through the water but what if they were sailing through a strong current They could be miles off in their dead reckoning for each day s progress and that error would accumulate day after day After a month at sea they could be hundreds of miles from where they thought they were Knowledge about the oceans continued to accumulate over the years but it was not until the 18th century that some major advances took place in ocean navigation and mapping The Longitude problem A key event that made detailed oceanography possible was the invention of a clock that worked on a ship As odd as it sounds without an accurate clock it was very difficult for sailors out on the open ocean to determine where they were It was fairly simple to determine latitude north south distance from the equator by taking a



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