This article is restricted to general oceanography in its physical aspects, the closely-related meteorological,, biological and economic aspects being dealt with elsewhere.
The efforts of individual scientific workers cannot as a rule produce such results in oceanography as in other sciences, but exceptions are found in the very special services rendered by the prince of Monaco, who founded the Oceanographical Institute in Paris and the Oceanographical Museum in Monaco; and by Professor Alexander Agassiz in the investigation of the Pacific.
The science of geography, passed on from antiquity by Ptolemy, re-established by Varenius and Newton, and systematized by Kant, included within itself definite aspects of all those terrestrial phenomena which are now treated exhaustively under the heads of geology, meteorology, oceanography and anthropology; and the inclusion of the requisite portions of the perfected results of these sciences in geography is simply the gathering in of fruit matured from the seed scattered by geography itself.
Oceanography is the science which deals with the ocean, and since the ocean forms a large part of the earth's surface oceanography is a large department of geography.
All ocean currents vary from year to year in their strength of flow and the main interest of physical oceanography in recent years has been the tracing-out of these variations and the search for the causes.
Modern oceanography has found means to calculate quantitatively the circulatory movements produced by wind and the distribution of temperature and salinity not only at the surface but in deep water.
The contents of these logs, it is true, refer more to maritime meteorology than to oceanography properly so-called, as their main purpose is to promote a rational system of navigation especially for sailing ships, and they are supplied by the voluntary co-operation of the sailors themselves.
Like geography, oceanography may be viewed in two different ways, and is conveniently divided into general oceanography, which deals with phenomena common to the whole ocean, and special oceanography, which has to do with the individual characteristics of the various divisions of the ocean.
Mill, The Realm of Nature (1913); J enkins, Oceanography (1921); J.
Thus geology, meteorology, oceanography and anthropology developed into distinct sciences.