Using the seawater toolbox

Alexander Stine
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In this lab, students learn to use the matlab seawater toolbox and use this tool to test a number of things that I have asserted to them in class with regard to the contribution of temperature and potential temperature to density variability in the ocean.

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Learning Goals

Concepts: Potential temperature vs. temperature. Density and static stability

MATLAB allows students to explore the data for themselves and also the experience with matlab helps as a bridge to get students to be able use matlab later in the semester to ask more open-ended questions.

Context for Use

I use this in a small upper level undergraduate and/or master's level class.
It is a lab activity.
This is the 7th of several small lab that I use to get the students up and running with Matlab so they can begin to explore oceanographic data in a more open ended way. (but many of these labs are very short, they can complete the first 3 of them in the first 3 hour lab). This come in a definite sequence that builds from an assumption of no matlab experience at the beginning of the semester).
This lab requires that they have the matlab seawater toolbox installed and that they have some basic introduction to how to use that toolbox.

Description and Teaching Materials

This lab is done entirely in MATLAB and is written to be self-explanatory assuming they have 3-4 weeks experience with matlab.
Lab Description (Lab_07_using_the_seawater_toolbox) (Acrobat (PDF) 108kB Oct12 15)
ctd_profile.mat (Matlab .MAT File 49kB Oct12 15)
Script for activity (Matlab File 2kB Oct12 15)

Teaching Notes and Tips


I don't have a formal system.
I talk a lot with the student's during this activity and we debrief when they have completed the activity.

References and Resources

Seawater toolbox (required for this lab) is here: