Oceanography UPSC: Comprehensive Guide For UPSC Aspirants

Hey Dosto, In this blog post we will discuss How to approach Oceanography UPSC for Geography Optional. I will tell you how to start your preparation from scratch, what are important topics, booklist, syllabus with micro topic analysis, and previous year questions as well.

In our previous blog post, we have discussed almost every aspect of Geography Optional Preparation that’s why if you haven’t read that article so please read it “Geography Optional UPSC: The Ultimate Guide”

In Oceanography, You have to take only one reference book and my Notes(website articles) –

  • Physical geography by Savindra Singh
  • ‘Lotus Arise’ Articles

Keep in mind, Don’t try to buy maximum books/resources. I will also provide some youtube videos link in my blog post for those topics which are important for UPSC.

First of all, some important points to always remember throughout your preparation-

  • Read the Syllabus thoroughly and by heart the syllabus, it will be the lighthouse of your preparation.
  • Read any topic from 2-3 sources i.e NCERT, Reference Book, our Articles, that’s all, and then revise it multiple times (at least 8 times)
  • After completing the topic from the syllabus refer to the questions from the previous years’ and try to frame answers.
  • Don’t make notes for every topic as It will be time-consuming. Prepare self notes for only those topics which you find very difficult to comprehend. 
  • For Paper 1, do special focus on Human Geography.
  • For Paper 2, make small bullet point notes for often repeated topics from standard sources.
  • Prepare region-wise maps of India from standard books in which all aspects of a region are covered like terrain, drainage, resources, agriculture, industries, etc. Basically, this is the regional approach to study geography which can be adopted for Paper 2.
  • Always try to link the subject matter of Paper 1 and Paper 2. For example, read Climatology, Population and Settlement GeographyRegional Development and Planning etc together for both papers and use examples from one paper in the other while writing answers.
  • Practice your answer writing in “UPSC Size loose sheets”, please don’t use your resister or rough copy.
  • Always practice answer writing within the time limit as per UPSC.
  • Develop your own model answer for each previous year questions.

Topics Which You Should Read From Physical Geography By Savindra Singh

Note: Actually, All topics of Oceanography are important to read for UPSC Geography Optional Aspirants, but Don’t worry I will also provide you a Micro Topic Analysis of Oceanography Syllabus.

  • Chapter-24: Reliefs and the Ocean Basins
  • Chapter-25: Temperature and density of ocean water
  • Chapter-26: Salinity
  • Chapter-27: Ocean deposits
  • Chapter-28: Ocean Tides
  • Chapter-29: Ocean Currents
  • Chapter-30: Coral reefs and Atoll
  • Chapter-31: Marine Resources

Oceanography syllabus for UPSC Geography Optional

As per UPSC notification:-

Oceanography: Bottom topography of the Atlantic, Indian and Pacific Oceans; Temperature and salinity of the oceans; Heat and salt budgets, Ocean deposits; Waves, currents and tides; Marine resources: biotic, mineral and energy resources; Coral reefs, coral bleaching; sea-level changes; law of the sea and marine pollution.

Oceanography syllabus: Micro Topic Analysis

1.Relief of Ocean-Basin

  • Overview of the earth: The water Planet
  • Oceans
  • Continental shelf
  • Continental slope
  • Continental Rise
  • Abyssal Plain
  • Deep-sea Trench
  • Submarine canyons
  • Sea Mounts
  • Guyot

2.Ocean waves 

  • Introduction
  • Characteristics of wave
    • Crest
    • Trough
    • Wavelength
    • Wave height
    • Frequency
    • Amplitude
  • Freak waves
  • Movement of water in the wave
  • Wavecut Action

3. Tide

  • Introduction
  • Origin of tides
  • Types of tides
  • Tidal Bores
  • Tidal currents

4. Ocean currents

  • Introduction
  • Origin of currents
  • Forces (Influenced by…)
  • Classification of ocean currents
  • Types of ocean currents
  • Conveyer belt
  • Major ocean currents of the world
  • Effects of ocean currents
  • Importance of ocean currents

5. Ocean Temperature and Density of ocean water

  • Introduction
  • Temperature distribution of oceans
  • Horizontal distribution of Temperature
  • Vertical distribution of temperature
  • Density of oceans

6. Ocean Salinity

  • Introduction
  • Composition of seawater
  • Source of ocean salinity
  • Controlling factors of salinity
  • Distribution of salinity
    • Horizontal
    • Vertical
  • Significance of Salinity

7. Ocean Resources

  • Maritime zones
  • Biotic
    • Planktons
    • Nektons
    • Benthos
  • Abiotic
    • Mineral
    • Energy

8. Corals

  • Introduction
  • Ideal conditions of coral growth
  • Coral reef distribution
  • Types of reef
    • Fringing
    • Barrier
    • Atoll
  • Location of coral reefs in India
  • Origin of coral reefs and Atolls
  • Coral Bleaching

9. El-Nino and La- Nino

10. Law of the sea

  • Territorial sea
  • Contiguous zone
  • EEZ (Exclusive economic zone)
  • High Sea

11. Sea-level changes

12. Marine pollution


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