What does the ocean mean to me?

Hi everyone

Given that your first task is to give us examples of images which you feel best represent the oceans, here are a few which I feel highlight their significance.

1. Cliffs of Moher, Ireland


Few places give us a more spectacular view of the influence of the oceans on Earth. Over millions of years they shape the continents through the processes of erosion and deposition, redefining landmasses and providing one of the most important environments we have – Coastlines.

2. January storms over the UK and Ireland


This storm, which hit western Europe during January of this year, highlights the power of the oceans over the weather systems of continents. The oceans play a large role in the redistribution of the heat from the sun; the Gulf Stream being one such example. This heat redistribution creates atmospheric systems which dominate and define the climates of many parts of the world.

3. Algal blooms off the South-West of Ireland


Similar to forests, the oceans are now considered to be vital in contributing oxygen to Earth’s atmosphere. Marine Cyanobacteria (algae) alone contribute nearly 20% of oxygen involved in chemical cycling between the oceans and the atmosphere. This photosynthetic marine life also forms the basis of nearly all food-webs in the oceans, sustaining countless numbers of species.

4. Shoal of Bigeye Travellies in Cabo Pulmo National Park, Mexico


The smallest of organisms, such as cyanobacteria and other photosynthetic life, support vast quantities of large marine life. Much of this marine life is vital to coastal communities and their economies.

5. Before and after satellite image of the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunamis, Phuket, Thailand


The tsunamis which occurred in the Indian Ocean in 2004 claimed an estimated 230,000 lives and displaced roughly 1.6 million people from their homes. This image highlights the raw and unpredictable power of the ocean. Events like this one can be devastating and are evidenced in the historical record of many countries; hence why they are one of the focusses of my PhD.


Image credits:

1. Cliffs of Moher Visitor Centre

2. UK Meterological Office

3. Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team/NASA

4. Octavio Aburto, National Geographic

5. NASA: Climate Time Machine



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