Navy casts Net into deep-sea exploration

The Navy's oceanographer develops systems for undersea surveillance navigation and global weather and oceanographic forecasting so it is understandable that the World Wide Web site oceanographer.navy.mil evokes the sea's magnificence and provides a wealth of information about the tools needed to master the systems.

While other Navy Web sites provide reams of information about the Navy the oceanographer site celebrates the element and the age-old craft of seafaring. Just click on the audio button on the home page and you can pipe the soothing sounds of the surf right into your PC. Click on the "History of Oceanography" button and up pops a concise well-written history that synchronizes well with crashing waves. "The oceans that make up three-quarters of the Earth's surface are realms of boundless energy towering grandeur and fathomless mystery " according to the document.

"These watery worlds have been a source of food birthplace of weather systems that sweep across continents pathways for commerce and turbulent fields of battle. Understanding the dark cold world beneath the sea the air above it and the interface of the sea surface with the atmosphere is the province of Naval Oceanography." Much of the site is dedicated to education.

The Meteorology and Oceanography section provides information on careers in meteorology and oceanography as well as dozens of pictures of sunsets and sunrises over water weather waves and coasts. Contest Promotes Learning To help grammar and high-school students better comprehend the "towering grandeur" of the seven seas Navy oceanographer Rear Adm. Paul Tobin has launched the "American Student Ship Naming Contest." The winning name will end up on a new TAGS-60 class survey shop currently under construction and slated for launch in late 1998.

Potential names according to the contest rules can include "names of former vessels used in exploration discovery science research or adventure [or] former vessels remembered for their achievements and derring-do on the oceans [or] the names of former men and women whose works link them to the oceans." Encouraging Research The Navy crafted the contest so it amounts to more than merely pulling a name out of a hat. It encourages student teams to thoroughly research oceans oceanography ships and ship names - a painless way to introduce students to oceanographic history and the scientific disciplines used by oceanographers.

The ship-naming contest and the research required also serves as an excellent bridge for educators wanting to develop a curriculum that dovetails with the United Nations' designation of 1998 as the "International Year of the Oceans." The oceanographer Web site is the focus of the contest as well as a starting point for students' research. The power of this well-designed site which features a research ship sailing across the top of the page underneath four stylized globes lies with its the links including links to Navy League offices in the 50 states that will receive the entries.

The oceanography-related links serve as excellent research guides allowing students to tap into a wealth of Navy civilian agency and educational sites. These sites range from the Fleet Numerical Meteorology and Oceanography Center to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Oceanographic Data Center to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. This is one Web-surfing expedition that definitely gets into the foam of the surf.

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