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The Role of Ocean Currents in Climate
http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/ttv10.sci.ess.watcyc.currents/

ThinkTV, Teachers' Domain

This video segment uses data-based visual NOAA representations to trace the path of surface ocean currents around the globe and explore their role in creating climate zones. Ocean surface currents have a major impact on regional climate around the world, bringing coastal fog to San Francisco and comfortable temperatures to the British Isles.

Video length 3:48 minutes.

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

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

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 provides some useful visuals for a unit on global ocean currents.
  • There is a very nice research project in the teaching tips section asking students to research a coastal city to determine how ocean currents determine its climate.

About the Science

  • Video focuses on role of surface ocean currents in global climate.
  • Comment from expert scientist: Asks students to think on both global and local scales. Includes (though necessarily briefly) both major processes that move ocean water: wind forcing and density. Relates the oceans to climate processes on large scales (e.g. heat uptake by the ocean) and smaller scales (e.g. El Niño, local coastal climates).

About the Pedagogy

  • This video includes a background essay and teaching tips.
  • Links to other videos and resources are included, making it easy to build a more comprehensive unit on ocean currents.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • The quality of the streaming video is likely not suitable for classroom projection. The download versions are of higher quality.

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.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.E1:The many dynamic and delicate feedbacks between the biosphere and other Earth systems cause a continual co-evolution of Earth’s surface and the life that exists on it.


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