Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Why We Should Explore

There are many benefits to exploring the ocean. However, the five most convincing points to me include the fact that the ocean contains many finite resources that can aid our economy, 50% of the land claims of the United States is underwater, exploration leads to technological and engineering innovation, the ocean is responsible for our weather and climate, and the bottom of the ocean is the largest museum of history.

Firstly, our economy in the United States is heavily dependent on fossil fuels. However, one of the major downsides to this dependence is that fossil fuels are finite resources. Eventually we will run out of fossil fuels, however, we can set back the inevitable by tapping into the unused resources in the ocean. Also, if the United States does in fact drill for oil and gas, our economy would improve, allowing us to not be so dependent on OPEC and other fossil fuels providers who can increase the cost of their products, placing the United States in even greater debt.

Continuing on, 50% of all the United States land claims are underwater. I believe that it is absolutely and completely idiotic to not explore the other half of the United States. There is the high possibility that many invaluable resources are just sitting at the bottom of the ocean, and no one is willing to investigate? Are you kidding me? The benefits are seemingly endless, and even if there aren't fossil fuels, the exploration and gain of knowledge is benefit enough. Humans are naturally curious, so why not indulge ourselves?

Similarly, oceanographic exploration leads to technological and engineering innovations. Technology like AUVs and HOVs would have never been created if it hadn't been for oceanographic exploration.

The ocean is responsible for our weather and climate. In elementary school, we learned the basics of the water cycle, however, what we weren't enlightened to was the fact that the ocean influences our climate and weather. The ocean moves as much heat around as the atmosphere does, but the land masses cause the currents to flow around them. Changes in currents have an enormous effect on weather. The current system that is known as the Atlantic Conveyor is responsible for keeping all of Western Europe warm. By understanding how the ocean works, we can predict weather patterns more accurately, which can save lives during hurricanes, typhoons, tsunamis, etc.

Lastly, the ocean floor holds much of the earth's history which is important to explore and understand so we don't repeat history, making the same mistakes our ancestors did. Shipwrecks also tell how history played out in the past and we can characterize past civilizations based on findings on the ocean floor.

There are other reasons as to why it is imperative we explore the ocean, but these are just a few.

-Victoria Mehlhaff -

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