Jump to this Video »
Sea Surface Salinity Influence on Earth's Climate
http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/vis/a010000/a010700/a010735/G2011-029_Aquarius_Climate_ipod_lg.m4v

Brooke Harris, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

This short NASA video focuses on the Aquarius satellite, launched on June 10, 2011 to observe how variations in ocean salinity relate to climatic changes. By measuring salinity globally, Aquarius shows the ocean's role in climate change and climate's effects on ocean circulation.

Video length: 2:13 min.

Discuss this Resource»
Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Environmental observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system. From the bottom of the ocean to the surface of the Sun, instruments on weather stations, buoys, satellites, and other platforms collect climate data. To learn about past climates, scientists use natural records, such as tree rings, ice cores, and sedimentary layers. Historical observations, such as native knowledge and personal journals, also document past climate change.
About Teaching Principle 5
Other materials addressing 5b
Observations, experiments, and theory are used to construct and refine computer models that represent the climate system and make predictions about its future behavior. Results from these models lead to better understanding of the linkages between the atmosphere-ocean system and climate conditions and inspire more observations and experiments. Over time, this iterative process will result in more reliable projections of future climate conditions.
About Teaching Principle 5
Other materials addressing 5c
understanding of the climate system is improved through observations, theoretical studies, and modeling
About Teaching Principle O
Other materials addressing Our

Benchmarks for Science Literacy
Learn more about the Benchmarks

Scientific investigations usually involve the collection of relevant data, the use of logical reasoning, and the application of imagination in devising hypotheses and explanations to make sense of the collected data.
Explore the map of concepts related to this benchmark
Computer modeling explores the logical consequences of a set of instructions and a set of data. The instructions and data input of a computer model try to represent the real world so the computer can show what would actually happen. In this way, computers assist people in making decisions by simulating the consequences of different possible decisions.
Explore the map of concepts related to this benchmark

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

About the Science

  • Sea surface salinity and sea surface temperature, which together determine seawater density, regulate ocean circulation.
  • Computer models help to predict global temperatures, but ocean salinity is measured in a number of ways. NASA earth-orbit satellites, such as Aquarius, measure a wide variety of variables such as rainfall, surface wind, sea surface temperature (SST), sea level, and even ocean color. Observations like this help unlock the secret links between the ocean and climate.
  • Comments from expert scientist: This activity describes how satellites measure sea surface salinity well and how the SSS measurements fit into the satellite oceanography constellation, including describing how the instruments work and what extra measurements need to be taken in order to make the most accurate assessment of SSS.

About the Pedagogy

  • Teacher can reinforce nature of science principles during the video. The video itself serves as a great visualization to support a discussion of the importance of satellite observations in computer model development.
  • The video can also be used to show students how satellites work, how scientists observe the Earth from space (remote sensing), and how the ocean dynamics are measured.
  • The transcript at http://aquarius.nasa.gov/pdfs/aquarius_climate_transcript.pdf can be used by hearing impaired users.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN

Also see NASA's Eyes on the Earth 3D: http://climate.nasa.gov/Eyes/

Jump to this Video »



Have you used these materials with your students? Do you have insights to share with other educators about their use? Please share with the community by adding a comment below.

Please use this space only for discussion about teaching with these particular materials.
For more general discussion about teaching climate literacy please use our general discussion boards.
To report a problem or direct a comment to the CLEAN project team please use our feedback form (or the feedback link at the bottom of every page).
Off-topic posts will be deleted.

Join the Discussion


Log in to reply