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Sea Level Viewer

Randall Jackson, for NASA

Video and animations of sea level from NASA's Climate website. Since 1992, NASA and CNES have studied sea surface topography as a proxy for ocean temperatures. NASA Missions TOPEX/Poseidon, Jason 1 and Jason 2 have been useful in predicting major climate, weather, and geologic events including El Nino, La Nina, Hurricane Katrina, and the Indian Ocean Tsunami.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Video supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 5 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 1 Cross Cutting Concept
High School: 3 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 2 Cross Cutting Concepts

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Climate change vs. climate variability and patterns
About Teaching Principle 4
Other materials addressing 4c
Sea level rise and resulting impacts is due to melting ice and thermal expansion and increases the risk
About Teaching Principle 7
Other materials addressing 7a

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • In-class discussion tool or use as an independent research tool.

About the Science

  • This video interactive educates the viewer on the role that satellites play in studying the topography and temperature of sea water. It also shows how satellites can provide useful information for understanding and predicting major oceanographic events.
  • Digital satellite imagery is used throughout to show changes in sea surface height and temperature.
  • Background information is available by clicking on the "find out more" button.
  • Comments from expert scientist: This activity presents a good overview over space missions that are concerned with sea level hights, as well as introduces good examples of why this is a relevant topic of research.

About the Pedagogy

  • The video interactive educates the viewer on the roles satellites have played in understanding how sea-level data can be used to understand and predict oceanographic phenomena.
  • It is a unique resource showing the relationship between water temperature and sea-level height.
  • The video has several components that can be examined separately from a computer.
  • There are no prerequisite skills needed.
  • It has well-organized information and lay-out.
  • There is no suggested teaching sequence and no teachers' guide is provided.
  • Students would be engaged.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Easy to use and technically well-produced.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Video supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 5

MS-ESS2.C1:Water continually cycles among land, ocean, and atmosphere via transpiration, evaporation, condensation and crystallization, and precipitation, as well as downhill flows on land.

MS-ESS2.C2:The complex patterns of the changes and the movement of water in the atmosphere, determined by winds, landforms, and ocean temperatures and currents, are major determinants of local weather patterns.

MS-ESS2.C3:Global movements of water and its changes in form are propelled by sunlight and gravity.

MS-ESS2.C4:Variations in density due to variations in temperature and salinity drive a global pattern of interconnected ocean currents.

MS-ESS2.D1:Weather and climate are influenced by interactions involving sunlight, the ocean, the atmosphere, ice, landforms, and living things. These interactions vary with latitude, altitude, and local and regional geography, all of which can affect oceanic and atmospheric flow patterns.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 1

Energy and Matter

MS-C5.2: Within a natural or designed system, the transfer of energy drives the motion and/or cycling of matter.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 3

HS-ESS2.C1:The abundance of liquid water on Earth’s surface and its unique combination of physical and chemical properties are central to the planet’s dynamics. These properties include water’s exceptional capacity to absorb, store, and release large amounts of energy, transmit sunlight, expand upon freezing, dissolve and transport materials, and lower the viscosities and melting points of rocks.

HS-ESS2.D1:The foundation for Earth’s global climate systems is the electromagnetic radiation from the sun, as well as its reflection, absorption, storage, and redistribution among the atmosphere, ocean, and land systems, and this energy’s re-radiation into space.

HS-ESS2.E1:The many dynamic and delicate feedbacks between the biosphere and other Earth systems cause a continual co-evolution of Earth’s surface and the life that exists on it.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 2

Energy and Matter

HS-C5.2:Changes of energy and matter in a system can be described in terms of energy and matter flows into, out of, and within that system.

HS-C5.4: Energy drives the cycling of matter within and between systems.

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