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Planet Earth: The Water Planet


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A nicely crafted NASA video on Earth as the water planet, highlighting the value of ocean-observing satellites and the role they play in understanding the global effects of climate change.

Video length 4:31 min.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

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
Climate is complex
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Climate is complex
Observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system
About Teaching Principle 5
Other materials addressing 5b
Sea level rise and resulting impacts is due to melting ice and thermal expansion and increases the risk
About Teaching Principle 7
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Climate change has consequences
About Teaching Climate Literacy
Other materials addressing Climate change has consequences

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 may be a good video to introduce how satellite observations complement scientific research and supply valuable information to create a foundation for understanding global climate change. For younger audiences you may find additional online resources here http://climate.nasa.gov/kids/bigQuestions/oceanHappening/.
  • Recommend that educator narrate video and explain false coloration observed from satellite images of different wavelengths.

About the Science

  • As global ocean temperatures increase, the ocean water expands causing sea level rise, which can have disastrous impacts on low-lying coastal regions.
  • The video highlights the type of ocean data that the Modis and Jason satellites can collect, e.g. phytoplankton data and sea surface height.
  • The effect of a warming ocean on sea level rise with subsequent impact on coastal areas is also reviewed.
  • Comments from expert scientist: The site is visually very appealing with clear graphics illustrating the forcing factors (e.g. carbon dioxide concentrations) and consequences. The discussion follows a clear progression from things that are not in dispute to predictions which are less uncertain. Additional resources are particularly strong.

About the Pedagogy

  • Stunning images in high definition.
  • Understanding satellite images can be difficult and should be addressed, as color schemes can be in false colors.
  • Video could be used to help students make connections between certain images and the satellites used to create those images.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Video composed of video clips and accompanying text for students to read. No narration.
  • Quality of video is high definition. It can be downloaded for ease of use.

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