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Ocean Tipping Point?
http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/527/oceans-climate-change.html

PBS Now

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

Covering 70% of Earth's surface, the ocean exerts a major control on climate by dominating Earth's energy and water cycles. It has the capacity to absorb large amounts of solar energy. Heat and water vapor are redistributed globally through density-driven ocean currents and atmospheric circulation. Changes in ocean circulation caused by tectonic movements or large influxes of fresh water from melting polar ice can lead to significant and even abrupt changes in climate, both locally and on global scales.
About Teaching Principle 2
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Changes in climate conditions can affect the health and function of ecosystems and the survival of entire species. The distribution patterns of fossils show evidence of gradual as well as abrupt extinctions related to climate change in the past.
About Teaching Principle 3
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Human activities have affected the land, oceans, and atmosphere, and these changes have altered global climate patterns. Burning fossil fuels, releasing chemicals into the atmosphere, reducing the amount of forest cover, and rapid expansion of farming, development, and industrial activities are releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and changing the balance of the climate system.
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Energy Literacy

Energy decisions are influenced by environmental factors.
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5.6 Environmental factors.
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Energy decisions are influenced by several factors.

Benchmarks for Science Literacy
Learn more about the Benchmarks

Thermal energy carried by ocean currents has a strong influence on climates around the world. Areas near oceans tend to have more moderate temperatures than they would if they were farther inland but at the same latitude because water in the oceans can hold a large amount of thermal energy.
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Human activities, such as reducing the amount of forest cover, increasing the amount and variety of chemicals released into the atmosphere, and intensive farming, have changed the earth's land, oceans, and atmosphere. Some of these changes have decreased the capacity of the environment to support some life forms.
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Changes in environmental conditions can affect the survival of individual organisms and entire species.
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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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