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Changing Planet: Rising Sea Level

NBC Learn, Windows to the Universe

This video discusses the social and economic impacts (worldwide and in the US) of sea level rise caused by global warming (aired April 1, 2011).

Video length: 6:21 min.

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Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Humans can adapt to climate change by reducing their vulnerability to its impacts. Actions such as moving to higher ground to avoid rising sea levels, planting new crops that will thrive under new climate conditions, or using new building technologies represent adaptation strategies. Adaptation often requires financial investment in new or enhanced research, technology, and infrastructure.
About Teaching the Guiding Principle
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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
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Melting of ice sheets and glaciers, combined with the thermal expansion of seawater as the oceans warm, is causing sea level to rise. Seawater is beginning to move onto low-lying land and to contaminate coastal fresh water sources and beginning to submerge coastal facilities and barrier islands. Sea-level rise increases the risk of damage to homes and buildings from storm surges such as those that accompany hurricanes.
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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.
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Sometimes, scientists can control conditions in order to obtain evidence. When that is not possible, practical, or ethical, they try to observe as wide a range of natural occurrences as possible to discern patterns.
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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

  • The video can be enlarged to eliminate visual impact of the text and images surrounding the video.

About the Science

  • The video documents impacts of thermal expansion and melting of ice sheets and glaciers on coastal communities
  • The video also shows the ways that sea level rise is documented. These include the use of sediment core data and satellite data to document rate of sea level rise in the past.
  • The video also describes a laboratory model that examines how warming ocean currents reach Antarctica to contributing to the melting of ice sheets.
  • References to projected sea level rise in the coming decades is a highly dynamic field. Estimates change as research progresses and teachers need to be aware of this.
  • Comments from expert scientist: Includes interviews with two leading scientists in the field and provides visuals of the sources of the data (sediment cores, satellite measurements, physical models, computer models).

About the Pedagogy

  • This video can be embedded in a lesson or activity that explores issues of ocean circulation, the melting of continental ice sheets, and how they impact sea level rise.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • A transcript accompanies the video facilitating an alternative method of accessing the information provided.
  • While a "full screen" button is not provided, it is possible to enlarge the image. The resolution is sufficient to make the image essentially full screen.

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