About the DPO JOA Examples

These interactive DPO JOA Examples follow the organizational scheme of the textbook “Descriptive Physical Oceanography” (DPO, 6th edition, 2011) (Talley, Pickard, Emery, Swift). The electronic ocean atlas application “Java OceanAtlas” (JOA) provides an environment for oceanographic data exploration, including tools for calculation of derived quantities and displays of profiles, vertical sections, and maps. These JOA examples illustrate some of the methods and ocean features and allow the student to gain familiarity with oceanographic data.

The DPO JOA Examples are used via a browser application, but the activities are carried out with the Java OceanAtlas software and the data files provided.

Note: Java OceanAtlas is an application. It must be installed on your computer in the same manner that any other application is installed on that computer, for example by copying the application and all its support files together into one place on your computer's hard drive. Java OceanAtlas cannot be run remotely, from a website, or from a removable disk such as a data DVD. Java OceanAtlas requires that its support files be located in the same folder/directory as the JOA application

The JOA application tab includes information about the types of computer operating systems supported, Java requirements, and computer requirements as of the time this was written.

If for some reason Java OceanAtlas will simply not run on your computer, please keep in mind that computers, Java, and Java OceanAtlas will continue to evolve. Swift and Osborne will attempt to keep abreast of operating system and Java developments. They provide updated information and files in the JOA application tab.

No prior knowledge of Java OceanAtlas is required to work with these examples. In other words, we have tried to include basic Java OceanAtlas user information along with the DPO JOA Examples. We suggest, however, that should one find Java OceanAtlas confusing when trying to both learn it and also do the DPO JOA Examples at the same time, it may be useful to first work through the Java OceanAtlas Guided Tour tutorial in the JOA application tab. The Guided Tour includes oceanographic background text, written by James Swift, in addition to demonstrating the software.

Please send comments, error notes, or suggestions regarding the DPO JOA Examples and Java OceanAtlas to Dr. James Swift (jswift at

Have fun!

Historical Background to the DPO JOA Examples

When the original Descriptive Physical Oceanography text book was written in the late 1960s, oceanographic data were plotted by hand on graph paper and charts. Students labored over their data plots, gaining solid familiarity with data, but limited in scope due to the time and effort involved. For a more comprehensive view of the oceans, students used the illustrations in the DPO text and in the great printed atlases of maps and sections found in oceanographic libraries and in many oceanographers' offices.

The evolution of the microcomputer with color display and the wealth of applications for these computers put onto the desktop the capacity to hold and examine large quantities of ocean data. It was Peter Rhines’ demonstration of his IBM-PC electronic ocean atlas application Atlast in 1988 which kindled the imagination and drive which eventually led to Osborne and Swift’s “OceanAtlas” (now “Java OceanAtlas”), and Reiner Schlitzer’s “Ocean Data View”. As we have all learned, the computer enables us to examine data in new, flexible ways, and permits us to take new directions.

The intent of Java OceanAtlas is to provide an educational tool for ad hoc real-time visualization of oceanographic data, to permit easy exploration of the ocean data in new ways. Java OceanAtlas is not a data presentation program, but is more nearly a data exploration program.

These DPO JOA Examples follow the organizational scheme of the DPO textbook, providing opportunities for the reader to illustrate ocean features and gain familiarity with oceanographic data, using the ocean atlas application “Java OceanAtlas”.

About the DPO JOA Examples Team

James Swift is a research oceanographer at the UCSD Scripps Institution of Oceanography, specializing in ocean measurement and interpretation, Arctic physical oceanography, and the water masses and circulation of the World Ocean. He authored the DPO JOA Examples.

Carolina Berys and Matthew Shen are Programmer-Analysts at the UCSD Scripps Institution of Oceanography and under the guidance of Dr. Swift worked on getting the DPO JOA examples ready for publication. Matthew Shen, while an undergraduate research assistant at UCSD/SIO, translated the World Ocean Atlas data files into forms usable by Java OceanAtlas. Web developer Irene Chan and undergraduate research assistant Roxanne Lee designed and contributed to the implementation of the browser interface for the DPO JOA Examples. Andrew Barna, an undergraduate summer research assistant at UCSD/SIO, and and Jessicah Morison, a Staff Research Assistant at UCSD, also contributed to the DPO JOA Examples.

“Java OceanAtlas” was developed by oceanographic applications specialist John “Oz” Osborne (OceanAtlas Software, Vashon Island, Washington), working with James Swift. They have collaborated on related projects since 1988. Oz provided the Java OceanAtlas application and related support and documentation files for the DPO JOA Examples.

Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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