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Where Glaciers Meet the Sea: How a warming ocean might speed the loss of Greenland's ice
http://www.whoi.edu/oceanus/viewArticle.do?id=95850

Cherie Winner, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

This video describes how the normal thousands-of-years-long balance of new ice creation and melting due to ocean currents has been disrupted recently by warmer ocean currents. As a result, glacier tongues that overhang the interface between ice and ocean are breaking off and falling into the ocean.

Video length 3:21 minutes.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Video supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 6 Disciplinary Core Ideas
High School: 3 Disciplinary Core Ideas

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
Sea level rise and resulting impacts is due to melting ice and thermal expansion and increases the risk
About Teaching Principle 7
Other materials addressing 7a

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

  • Could be used as part of an oceanography unit or a general unit on the Arctic and climate warming.

About the Science

  • The video describes how the normal thousands-of-years-long balance of new ice creation and melting due to ocean currents has been disrupted recently by warmer ocean currents.
  • Comments from expert scientist: This is a really nice video explaining why the Greenland glaciers have been accelerating in the last decade. The animation starts out with images from Greenland. Then the animation shows the steady state situation and contrasts this to the present situation, demonstrating why the glaciers are accelerating. The animations do an excellent job of presenting the physics of the problem.

About the Pedagogy

  • The animations are clear and illustrate very well the change in the glacier-ocean interface.
  • An OCEANUS article accompanies the video. It is accessible from the "Learn more on Oceanus magazine" link below the video or at http://www.whoi.edu/oceanus/viewArticle.do?id=73766.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Very high-quality images and animations.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Video supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 6

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.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.

MS-ESS2.D3:The ocean exerts a major influence on weather and climate by absorbing energy from the sun, releasing it over time, and globally redistributing it through ocean currents.

MS-ESS3.D1:Human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth’s mean surface temperature (global warming). Reducing the level of climate change and reducing human vulnerability to whatever climate changes do occur depend on the understanding of climate science, engineering capabilities, and other kinds of knowledge, such as understanding of human behavior and on applying that knowledge wisely in decisions and activities.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 3

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.

HS-ESS2.D4:Current models predict that, although future regional climate changes will be complex and varied, average global temperatures will continue to rise. The outcomes predicted by global climate models strongly depend on the amounts of human-generated greenhouse gases added to the atmosphere each year and by the ways in which these gases are absorbed by the ocean and biosphere.


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