Jump to this Static Visualization »
Ocean Heat Content (0 to 700 m)
http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/bams-state-of-the-climate/2009-time-series/ohc

NOAA

This graphic contains ocean heat content (OHC) anomaly trends from 1945 to 2009 for the top 700 meters of the ocean. It is composed of long-term datasets from seven different references. The graphic can be manipulated and downloaded as a picture.

Discuss this Resource»
Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Covering 70% of Earth's surface, the ocean exerts a major control on climate by dominating Earth's energy and water cycles. It has the capacity to absorb large amounts of solar energy. Heat and water vapor are redistributed globally through density-driven ocean currents and atmospheric circulation. Changes in ocean circulation caused by tectonic movements or large influxes of fresh water from melting polar ice can lead to significant and even abrupt changes in climate, both locally and on global scales.
About Teaching Principle 2
Other materials addressing 2b
Environmental observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system. From the bottom of the ocean to the surface of the Sun, instruments on weather stations, buoys, satellites, and other platforms collect climate data. To learn about past climates, scientists use natural records, such as tree rings, ice cores, and sedimentary layers. Historical observations, such as native knowledge and personal journals, also document past climate change.
About Teaching Principle 5
Other materials addressing 5b

Benchmarks for Science Literacy
Learn more about the Benchmarks

Scientific investigations usually involve the collection of relevant data, the use of logical reasoning, and the application of imagination in devising hypotheses and explanations to make sense of the collected data.
Explore the map of concepts related to this benchmark
Thermal energy carried by ocean currents has a strong influence on climates around the world. Areas near oceans tend to have more moderate temperatures than they would if they were farther inland but at the same latitude because water in the oceans can hold a large amount of thermal energy.
Explore the map of concepts related to this benchmark

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

  • Storage and transport of heat in the ocean is a complex topic. There are videos in the CLEAN collection that support the topic, such as "Ocean Tipping Point?": http://cleanet.org/resources/42756.html

About the Science

  • Source is the American Meteorological Society State of the Climate Report.
  • The ocean heat content data (0-700m)is the anomaly of the heat energy contained by the 700 meters of the ocean closest to the surface.
  • The positive trend of the OHC anomaly is an indication of a warming Earth.
  • Seven datasets combine to reveal changes in ocean heat content (0 to 700 m) over the past 70 years.
  • Comments from expert scientist: These are the original data that demonstrate climate change. What I like is that a very wide variety of data are included, from several different sources. This is an excellent data set to demonstrate the meaning of independent verification and scientific accuracy to students.

About the Pedagogy

  • The graphic contains a link to the raw data.
  • Educators can tie this data to specific heat. The ocean has a higher heat capacity than land or the atmosphere.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Manipulate graphic by zooming, panning, and selecting/deselecting datasets.
  • Picture of graphic can be downloaded and placed in worksheets or presentations.

Related URLs These related sites were noted by our reviewers but have not been reviewed by CLEAN

The 2009 Climate Report provides for further background on OHC: http://www1.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/cmb/bams-sotc/2009/bams-sotc-2009-chapter3-global-oceans-lo-rez.pdf

Jump to this Static Visualization »



Have you used these materials with your students? Do you have insights to share with other educators about their use? Please share with the community by adding a comment below.

Please use this space only for discussion about teaching with these particular materials.
For more general discussion about teaching climate literacy please use our general discussion boards.
To report a problem or direct a comment to the CLEAN project team please use our feedback form (or the feedback link at the bottom of every page).
Off-topic posts will be deleted.

Join the Discussion


Log in to reply