National Geographic Ocean: A Global Odyssey
“This is one of those books perfectly made for both casual browsing and in-depth study, providing enough detail for the serious student along with eye-grabbing photography and illustrations to keep you turning the page.”
No publisher produces more impressive coffee table books than National Geographic, and this hefty volume definitely keeps that tradition alive. The world’s oceans truly remain an underexplored frontier that affect the both the environmental and economic well-being of our planet and this volume both educates and inspires in many ways.
First, a particular specialty of National Geographic is nature photography, and to call the pictures in this book stunning would be an understatement. The foldouts of dozens of species of oceanic creatures and plants alone provoke the wonder of looking at a truly alien environment, and every picture can be savored as it brings to life the accompanying text.
The narrative not only provides an excellent overview of the history and current state of the ocean sciences relating to exploration and preservation of the myriad ecosystems affected by pollution, over-fishing and climate change, but offers some marvelous vignettes of visionary oceanographers and advocates, as well as key technologies that have made the ocean floor more accessible to explorers. The interactions of coastal and near shore tides, currents, and human activity with the deeper ocean currents, temperature and salinity is also well discussed to show how the actions in any region can have global implications on weather patterns. The complementary diagrams help explain the more detailed scientific discussions, and it would be easy to see this book as a primary textbook for an introductory ocean science course.
And, of course, the primary specialty of National Geographic is maps, and the ones in this volume are outstanding, not only providing some unique depth contour views of the major bodies of water along with the usual political view, but providing multiple reference maps on ocean currents, fishing activity, temperature gradients, and other views that visually describe in detail the impact of ocean activity on weather, fishing, energy exploration, and a multitude of other roles the ocean plays in our global economic and environmental ecosystems. The sheer number of maps is impressive, and if you’ve ever wondered where the Bay of Bothnia is, there’s a map that lists every bay, gulf, and sea that have been named.
This is one of those books perfectly made for both casual browsing and in-depth study, providing enough detail for the serious student along with eye-grabbing photography and illustrations to keep you turning the page.