Oceanography is the study of the oceans as ecological systems. In this section, learn about topics like currents, deep-sea research or how rogue waves work.


Why are the waves on the U.S. West Coast larger than the waves on the East Coast?

If you ask anyone interested in surfing, they'll probably tell you that you need to be on the West Coast in order to find the biggest waves. But why is that? Why are the waves bigger on the West Coast when compared to the East Coast of the U.S.?

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  • 10 Treasures We’ll Lose as Sea Levels Rise
    10 Treasures We’ll Lose as Sea Levels Rise

    The oceans are rising, and they're threatening to take down some of the world's brightest cultural gems. Here are 10 of the most notable spots potentially endangered by climate change. See more »

  • How can you make water invisible?
    How can you make water invisible?

    It's colorless, odorless and definitely life-sustaining, but is it invisible to the naked eye? Not usually. So what's going on with everyone's favorite liquid? See more »

  • How DEPTHX Works
    How DEPTHX Works

    What would you need to explore an ocean on Europa, one of Jupiter's moons? Among other things, you'd need a submersible vehicle to explore the ocean and relate findings back to Earth. Stone Aerospace is developing just such a vehicle: the DEPTHX. See more »

  • How Desalination Works
    How Desalination Works

    Very little of the world's water is usable because of its high salt content, but a process known as desalination may help change that. How does desalination work to turn salt water into fresh water? See more »

  • How does desalination work?
    How does desalination work?

    Desalination has long been considered too expensive and too energy-intensive to make much sense. But with newer technologies, that line of thinking is changing. What are some of the most interesting desalination projects on the planet? See more »

  • How Hydrology Works
    How Hydrology Works

    Without water, Earth would be a barren and lifeless planet. But did you know the Earth's water supply has not increased or decreased for billions of years? No wonder hydrologists are so fascinated by water. See more »

  • How Ocean Currents Work
    How Ocean Currents Work

    You might never notice the relentless movement of the oceans unless their waters went eerily still. What forces drive the oceans every second of the day? See more »

  • How Rip Currents Work
    How Rip Currents Work

    Rip currents are the number-one concern for beach lifeguards: About 80 percent of all beach rescues are related to rip currents. Learn what they are and what you should do if you get caught in one. See more »

  • How Rogue Waves Work
    How Rogue Waves Work

    Also known as "freak waves," these colossal walls of water have been alleged to be in the range of 100 feet or more. Learn what separates rogue waves from other large waves, what causes them and find out about some of the better-known rogue wave incidents. See more »

  • How Wave Energy Works
    How Wave Energy Works

    Rough times call for creative measures. The world is filled with oceans, and oceans are filled with wave energy that could potentially be transformed into power. Is wave energy a viable fossil fuel alternative? See more »

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