Oceanography/Salty Water


Hi Randy, very simple question i think. What makes ocean water salty? Is there fresh water mixed with salty water in the ocean? If so, in what percentage?. Thank you!

Over the eons, salt has leached from the Earth's surface into the oceans. Because the oceans have no outlet, they form the ultimate repository for any materials dissolved in water as it flows downward from exposed land to the seas. When water evaporates from the ocean, only water itself (H2O in the form of a gaseous vapor) is released into the atmosphere. This airborne water returns to the surface via precipitation which then again washes salts down to the ocean.

The average percentage of salt in the ocean is around 3.5%, which is 3.5 parts per hundred. Oceanographers actually measure salinity in units of parts per thousand, so the average is about 35 parts per thousand, written as 35o/oo.


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randy patton


Physical oceanography, surface and internal wave characteristics, ocean currents, fluid mechanics, geophysical fluid dynamics, ocean optics, coastal dynamics, modeling and simulation, data analysis, El Nino and related large scale dynamics Not an expert in marine biology (some in bioluminescence) or chemical oceanography


26 years as professional scientist for research company working mostly on Navy and other government contracts. Projects included modeling, simulations and data analysis related to Non-acoustic Anti-submarine Warfare (NAASW). Other projects included remote sensing of ocean features, statistical analysis of ship tracks, ocean optics instrumentation development, synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and sonar (SAS).

Journal of Physical Oceanography, 1984, "A Numerical Model for Low-Frequency Equatorial Dynamics" (with M. Cane)

MS Physical Oceanography, MIT, 1981 BS Applied Math, UC Berkeley, 1976

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