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Changing Planet: Fresh Water in the Arctic

NBC Learn, NESTA - Windows to the Universe

This Changing Planet video documents scientists' concerns regarding how melting Arctic sea ice will increase the amount of fresh water in the Beaufort Gyre, which could spill out into the Atlantic and cause major climate shifts in North America and Western Europe. The video includes interviews with scientists and a look at the basics of how scientists measure salinity in the ocean and how ocean circulation works in the Arctic.

Video length 5:18 min.

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
High School: 3 Disciplinary Core Ideas

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

  • This video examines the impacts of fresh water flowing into the Arctic Ocean from ice and rivers on thermohaline circulation using advanced, specifically-designed engineering.
  • Scientists profiled are from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and other research institutes.
  • Good background information and references given in the accompanying lesson plan: http://www.windows2universe.org/teacher_resources/leaky_gyre.html.
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

About the Pedagogy

  • The video outlines the issues of fresh water flowing into the Arctic Sea and the challenges that scientists face collecting data there.
  • Teachers should be aware (and pass on to students) that climate change will have different impacts in different parts of the world and that it won't be "warming" everywhere.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Video quality is not ideal; video may be pixelated at larger viewing sizes.

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

Accompanying lesson plan with activities "The Case of the Leaky Gyre" - http://www.windows2universe.org/teacher_resources/leaky_gyre.html

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.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 3

HS-ESS2.A1:Earth’s systems, being dynamic and interacting, cause feedback effects that can increase or decrease the original changes.

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.

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