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Ocean Heat Content (0 to 700 m)


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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.

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Climate Literacy
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Ocean as climate control, oceanic conveyor belt; abrupt changes in thermohaline circulation
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Other materials addressing 2b
Observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system
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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

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