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The Role of Ocean Currents in Climate

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.

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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 NiƱo, local coastal climates).
  • Passed initial science review - expert science review pending.

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.

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