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Ocean Tipping Point?


This video highlights research conducted at Woods Hole on how heat absorbed by the ocean and changes of ocean chemistry from human activities could lead to a tipping point for marine life and ecosystems. Includes ice bath experiment that models the tipping point of Arctic sea ice.

Video length: 13:40 min.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Ocean as climate control, oceanic conveyor belt; abrupt changes in thermohaline circulation
About Teaching Principle 2
Other materials addressing 2b
Climate impacts ecosystems and past species extinctions
About Teaching Principle 3
Other materials addressing 3c
Human activities have increased GHG levels and altered global climate patterns
About Teaching Principle 6
Other materials addressing 6c

Energy Literacy

Environmental quality is impacted by energy choices.
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7.3 Environmental quality.
Energy decisions are influenced by environmental factors.
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5.6 Environmental factors.
Water plays a major role in the storage and transfer of energy in the Earth system.
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2.4 Water stores and transfers energy.

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

  • This video helps to explain and demonstrate tipping points and the relationship between ocean and atmospheric temperatures.
  • Runs into another video and an ad at 11:17.

About the Science

  • The impacts of climate change on the ocean temperature currents and chemistry are described by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute scientists.
  • Comments from expert scientist: The resource is from 2009, so it needs substantial updates. It is a simple resource that lacks depth, and should only be used for younger (middle school) students.

About the Pedagogy

  • Excellent visuals, interviews with scientists.
  • Features a female scientist prominently.
  • Contains an effective demonstration-type experiment on the absorption of heat by ice and the tipping point phenomena.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Easy to access and very well-produced.

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