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Images: Through the Looking-Glass of the Sea Surface

Every day the sun rises and warms the surface waters in the ocean. At night, this thin layer of warm water disappears, because the atmosphere is generally cooler than the ocean. Without heat from the sun, surface waters begin cooling. The cooler water is heavier, and it sinks and mixes deeper into the ocean, creating a very well-mixed layer near the surface—a clean slate for the next day. (Illustration by Eric S. Taylor, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
The sea surface loses heat via several different constantly occurring processes. (Amy Caracappa-Qubeck, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
Underwater profilers collect previously hard-to-get data near the sea surface, a critical zone where heat is exchanged between air and sea. (Alec Bogdanoff, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
Researchers set an unmanned glider on its way during an expedition in the Atlantic Ocean. Gliders go up and down in the upper ocean, taking measurements of temperature and turbulence in the ocean for up to a week at a time without pause. (Alec Bogdanoff, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution is the world's leading non-profit oceanographic research organization. Our mission is to explore and understand the ocean and to educate scientists, students, decision-makers, and the public.
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