Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963893 | Print ISBN: 9781412958783 | Online ISBN: 9781412963893| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Joaquim Ballabrera & Raghu Murtugudde & Jordi Font
TWO ATTRIBUTES OF the oceans, temperature and salinity, determine the density of seawater, and the differences in density between the water masses in the worlds oceans causes the water to flow in ther-mohaline circulation, thereby producing the greatest oceanic current on the planet. Salinity is the distinct taste of seawater and is the result of the presence of dissolved salts (more than 85 dissolved constituents), among which chloride (Cl) and sodium (Na), the elements of common table salt, are the most abundant. The term salinity refers to the content of these dissolved salts and has been defined as grams of dissolved salts per kilogram of seawater. Salinity has been expressed as parts per thousand (‰ or ppt) and, more recently, by practical salinity units (psu). On average, a kilogram of seawater has 35 grams of dissolved salts, so its salinity content is 35‰, or 35 psu. The accuracy of most ...