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Task – What’s in Your Water?


Your plans are nearly complete. Soon you will know exactly what you shall require in order to make fresh water! You will then make this known to the ship and become exalted with lots of awards and trophies! The water doesn’t take like table salt mixed with water, there’s more to it than that. You’ll need to examin the origin and processes that determine the composition of seawater. You haven’t the foggiest where to begin, but surely the Cabin Boy could find you some information. For now, a bucket of ice, a hot plate, food coloring, and some beakers will help you get started. 

The Captain’s Orders

Read the log book The Life and Times of Water to learn about seawater chemistry You will need external resources, like the computer, with satellite internet, on the Captain’s desk. If you use the computer, make sure you make a note where you got your information. Answer the questions and complete the following tasks using the log book and the internet.


  • Explore water’s unique and anomalous chemical properties and link to its physical properties.
  • Explore water’s unique and anomalous physical properties and link to its chemistry.
  • Demonstrate, through data collection and analyses, the chemical properties of sea-water.
  • Assess the controls on the composition of seawater including the influence of physical, chemical, geological and biological ocean processes on the concentrations of dissolved constituents in seawater.
  • Explore the residence time of dissolved constituents in the ocean.
  • Assess the role of global biogeochemical recycling with respect to the ocean 


  1. In your own words, define salinity and what its measures.
  2. What is the average salinity of the oceans? Be sure to include the value and the units.
  3. How is chlorinity related to salinity? Explain.
  4. What happens to local salinity when evaporation rates increase: Rises or Lowers?
  5. What happens to local salinity when ice formation rates increase: Rises or Lowers?
  6. What happens to local salinity when rain increases: Rises or Lowers?
  7. What happens to local salinity when river input increases: Rises or Lowers?
  8. Where is surface salinity highest in the world ocean (in general)? Why? 
  9. Where is surface salinity lowest in the world ocean (in general)? Why? 
  10. What happens to gas solubility when pressure increases: Rises or Lowers?
  11. What happens to gas solubility when temperature increases: Rises or Lowers?
  12. What happens to gas solubility when salinity increases: Rises or Lowers?
  13. Which gas is highest in abundance in the atmosphere
  14. Which gas is highest in abundance in the oceans? Why? 
  15. Which of the following processes increases oxygen in the oceans? 
    • atmospheric interaction 
    • decomposition 
    • photosynthesis 
    • respiration 
    • volcanic outgassing
  16. Which of the following processes increases carbon dioxide in the oceans?
    • atmospheric 
    • interaction 
    • decomposition 
    • photosynthesis respiration 
    • volcanic outgassing
  17. What does pH measure? Be specific and include your own definition.
  18. In 1 liter of water there is more H+ than OH-, what kind of solution is it: Acidic, Neutral, or Basic?
  19. The pH ranges from 1 to 14. What is the pH range for basic solutions?  
  20. What is the pH range for neutral solutions? acidic solutions?
  21. What is the average pH of the oceans?
  22. What is the average pH of coffee?   
  23. What is the average pH of blood?    
  24. What is the average pH of rum?
  25. The log book listed five biogeochemical cycles. Pick ONE and describe in your own words how the cycle works. Create or include an illustration to go along with your description.

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