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Surging Seas

Climate Central

This interactive map allows the user to explore projected alterations of land surfaces in coastal communities, based on different scenarios of sea level changes over time.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Simulation/Interactive supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 1 Disciplinary Core Idea, 2 Cross Cutting Concepts, 2 Science and Engineering Practices
High School: 3 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 2 Cross Cutting Concepts, 1 Science and Engineering Practice

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

  • In order to create rich lessons using the Surging Seas interactive, teachers should take the time to explore all of the components of this site. Encourage students to make full use of all the related resources and data available with the interactive.

About the Science

  • Threats from sea level rise and storm surge to all 3000 plus coastal communities in the US are represented on this interactive map. The map shows best estimates of land under different water levels, based upon the National Elevation Dataset from the US Geological Survey - the best publicly available elevation data covering the entire US coast. Students can search sea level rise impact by name of city or town or zip code to see the statistics of how an area may/may not be impacted.
  • Comments from expert scientist: I love that you can download data on this website. The downloads are easy to use, since they come in Excel worksheets. I think this is a fantastic resource. The maps are great. The fact sheets are also nice. It also has wonderful links to other resources.

About the Pedagogy

  • This interactive is well-supported for students and teachers to download the data in Excel maps to investigate their area more closely. Students will be curious and motivated to investigate their own areas and towns and then read reports for their areas. This is a very rich site.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Excellent visualization.
  • Nuances of changes in view as you zoom into areas while changing sea levels can be confusing - needs to be explored to be well understood.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Simulation/Interactive supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 1

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.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 2

Patterns, Cause and effect

MS-C1.4:Graphs, charts, and images can be used to identify patterns in data.

MS-C2.2:Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural or designed systems.

Science and Engineering Practices: 2

Analyzing and Interpreting Data

MS-P4.1:Construct, analyze, and/or interpret graphical displays of data and/or large data sets to identify linear and nonlinear relationships.

MS-P4.2:Use graphical displays (e.g., maps, charts, graphs, and/or tables) of large data sets to identify temporal and spatial relationships.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 3

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.

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.

HS-ESS3.D1:Though the magnitudes of human impacts are greater than they have ever been, so too are human abilities to model, predict, and manage current and future impacts.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 2

Patterns, Cause and effect

HS-C1.5:Empirical evidence is needed to identify patterns.

HS-C2.1:Empirical evidence is required to differentiate between cause and correlation and make claims about specific causes and effects.

Science and Engineering Practices: 1

Analyzing and Interpreting Data

HS-P4.1:Analyze data using tools, technologies, and/or models (e.g., computational, mathematical) in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims or determine an optimal design solution.

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