Consider the physical dynamics of the oceans. WOW! That sounds like trouble! What do “physical dynamics” mean? It sounds hard and boring. Not to fear. Though it may be boring to some of you, it should not be too hard.

What is meant by “physical dynamics”? Physical refers to something that is observable and measurable. Dynamics are the way things work. So, the physical dynamics of the ocean refer to the measurable, observable ways that the ocean works. Not so bad, right? The physical dynamics of the ocean include things like tides, temperature, wave action, ocean currents, salinity (concentration of salt), and ocean depth.

The physical dynamics of the ocean are all abiotic factors. It should not be surprising to you that the abiotic ocean factors (the physical dynamics) affect the ocean’s biotic factors, i.e. the organisms that live in and around the ocean.

We often hear the term "El Nino" but few of us really understand what it means or how it affects us. El Nino is a physical phenomenon of the ocean that has a significant impact on both ocean life and human life. In this assignment you will describe El Nino and its impact on the Earth’s biosphere.


Using the Internet, find information related to El Nino. There are a multitude of Internet sources; you will probably find more information than you can possibly use. Using the information from at least THREE different Internet sources, write a THREE page, type written, double spaced essay that answers the following FOUR questions:

1. What are oceans currents? What are tides? Describe the ocean currents and tides, what they are; what causes them, where they normally flow, etc…

2. What is El Nino? Describe what it is and what causes it. How does it affect ocean currents and tides? Water temperature? Other abiotic factors?

3. How does El Nino affect ocean life in general?

4. How does El Nino affect us in Utah?

Write the essay using your own words and identify the Internet sites you used. Believe me, I will recognize the difference between your writing and the writing used by those who publish on the Internet. Also, since you are going to identify the sites you used, I can easily check and see if you used your own words or merely copied theirs!

Use good grammar, punctuation, and spelling. With spell check on most computers, there is no excuse for sloppy work. Grammar, punctuation, and spelling will count as part of the grade. It is very wise to have someone else proof-read your work.


Send your assignment to me. If your essay is written in your own words, if you have identified your Internet sites, and if your essay is at least three pages and adequately answers the four questions posed, you will receive a good grade.


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