As the global temperatures increase due to the climate change, the focus of scientists are shifting on the oceans. Many experts have already predicted the rise in sea levels because of rapidly melting glaciers.
To counter climate change, scientists consider Oceanography as one of the best routes to figure out problems in marine ecosystems.This has triggered many opportunities in the field of oceanography, the science to unveil mysteries of ocean.
With rapidly changing landscape of 21st century, problems need integrated solutions. The field of oceanography is thus a perfect combination of different fields of study viz., chemistry, biology, geography, engineering and physics.
The world economy is growing at rapid pace with developing countries such as China, India and Brazil driving the growth engine. Majority of this growth is fuelled by trade, which mostly takes through sea routes. Oceanography is important in discovering environmental footprint of all trade activities in ocean. World governments are trying to implement sustainable growth plans and oceanographers are going to lead plans.
Modern world is facing the quickest mass extinctions of species today. Each year many animals and plants are being marked endangered and extinct. Government and conservation bodies have responded to this with large scale environmental management plans. The field of oceanography studies marine ecosystems near coasts, estuaries and deep oceans. This means you get to follow the lifestyle of sea creatures or study deep sea microscopic creatures for months together. Oceanographer studies interaction of organisms with inorganic world.
Importance for people:
The world population is increasing and majority of them are situated near the coast. This means studying oceans is directly going to affect their lives. Indigenous tribes, fishermen still directly depend on ocean for livelihood and seafood remains best protein source for humans. More knowledge of oceans will guide humans to use these resources with responsibility.
The ocean is prime body for waste water and garbage disposal. This has already troubled many ecosystems. Oil spills, irresponsible drilling and transportation are degrading these rich water bodies. Corporations world over are looking for oceanographers to study environmental impact of their projects, in order to avoid criticism and sanctions (restrictions).
How and where can you study Oceanography?
Mostly oceanographers gets an undergraduate degree in sciences such as chemistry, physics and biology. After that they opt for a Master’s degree and/or later a PhD in marine biology.
A list of oceanography, atmospheric science and climated related institutes and programmes in India is listed – HERE
Many colleges in United States have started their own specialized courses in marine biology and oceanography. United states Naval Academy has one the best oceanography program ran through Department of Oceanography and Meteorology. The prestigious Stanford University has Hopkins Marine Station equipped with undergraduate, postgraduate and research programs in the field of oceanography. Princeton University’s Program in atmospheric and oceanic sciences is good kick-starter too.
If one is interested in technical side of the oceanography, he or she can start applying to MIT’s Centre for Oceanography and Physical Oceanography.