A biologist's view of marine climate | The Meteorological Society of New Zealand

A biologist's view of marine climate

W. Ballantine

Although the climatology of land and the atmosphere has a long history, marine climatology scarcely exists as a subject. 'Marine' meteorology is concerned mainly with the atmosphere above the sea, some sea surface phenomena and very short time scales. Physical oceanography, which would logically include the climate of the sea itself, has traditionally been concerned with mean conditions and their causes, not with the variation in these conditions. Only quite recently has there been any attempt to record the variations in locality, strength and frequency of those features, such as currents, mixing layers, fronts, gyres, photic zones, eddies, etc., which make up the climate of the sea. Even less has been done to relate all this to biological phenomena. Nevertheless, examples are already available for the New Zealand region which demonstrate both the feasibility of obtaining information on marine climates and the value of having it. Although relatively small in number, these examples cover a wide range of geographical localities, methods of data collection and analysis, and phenomena studied (both physical and biological). They also show a range of theoretical and practical application.

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