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Global Science Investigator

NOAA Pacific Services Center

This is an animated interactive that displays, on a Global Viewer, NOAA datasets on hazards, ocean, and climate. User can visualize data on phenomena such as hurricanes, humpback whale migrations, carbon tracker, sea ice extent, IPCC scenarios on global warming.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Animation supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 4 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 2 Cross Cutting Concepts, 6 Science and Engineering Practices
High School: 4 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 2 Cross Cutting Concepts, 3 Science and Engineering Practices

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Climate system is subject to the same physical laws as the rest of the Universe
About Teaching Principle 5
Other materials addressing 5a
Observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system
About Teaching Principle 5
Other materials addressing 5b
Observations, experiments, and theory are used to construct and refine computer models
About Teaching Principle 5
Other materials addressing 5c
Human activities have increased GHG levels and altered global climate patterns
About Teaching Principle 6
Other materials addressing 6c

Energy Literacy

Environmental quality is impacted by energy choices.
Other materials addressing:
7.3 Environmental quality.
Some populations are more vulnerable to impacts of energy choices than others.
Other materials addressing:
7.6 Vulnerable populations.
Greenhouse gases affect energy flow through the Earth system.
Other materials addressing:
2.6 Greenhouse gases affect energy flow.

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

  • Younger students may need support/guidance in understanding the information conveyed in the visualization. It is a powerful tool.
  • Use starter questions at the bottom of each page to stimulate student discussions.

About the Science

  • This interactive/animated tool displays NOAA datasets covering a wide variety of topics on global viewer. The broad categories are Hazards, Climate, and Ocean, and under each category different topics are available such as sea surface temperatures and aerosols in the atmosphere.
  • Comments from expert scientist: This data viewer provides basic, but useful information on a variety of earth processes such as tsunamis, plate tectonics, sea surface temperatures, sea ice, etc. Once nice thing is that a list of references (mainly websites) is clearly provided for each topic. The basic information is good, but is quite outdated in places. For example, the sea ice extent maps only extend until 2004, whereas the most dramatic sea ice changes have occurred since then.

About the Pedagogy

  • Global viewer is user-friendly and a help button offers guidance on how to manipulate the datasets onto the viewer. Each view/dataset is accompanied by a narrative, which briefly describes what is displayed on the viewer, plus buttons for more information, FAQ, references, and standards.
  • A clickable slide-bar on the viewer displays changes over decades and/or seasons.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Excellent quality, easy to use after initial fiddling/experimentation.
  • Animation can be paused over time to have students focus on one specific area

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Animation supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 4

MS-ESS2.A1:All Earth processes are the result of energy flowing and matter cycling within and among the planet’s systems. This energy is derived from the sun and Earth’s hot interior. The energy that flows and matter that cycles produce chemical and physical changes in Earth’s materials and living organisms.

MS-ESS2.A2:The planet’s systems interact over scales that range from microscopic to global in size, and they operate over fractions of a second to billions of years. These interactions have shaped Earth’s history and will determine its future.

MS-ESS2.D1:Weather and climate are influenced by interactions involving sunlight, the ocean, the atmosphere, ice, landforms, and living things. These interactions vary with latitude, altitude, and local and regional geography, all of which can affect oceanic and atmospheric flow patterns.

MS-ESS3.B1:Mapping the history of natural hazards in a region, combined with an understanding of related geologic forces can help forecast the locations and likelihoods of future events.

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: 6

Developing and Using Models, Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Asking Questions and Defining Problems

MS-P1.1:Ask questions that arise from careful observation of phenomena, models, or unexpected results, to clarify and/or seek additional information.

MS-P1.2:ask questions to identify and/or clarify evidence and/or the premise(s) of an argument.

MS-P2.5:Develop and/or use a model to predict and/or describe phenomena.

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.

MS-P4.3: Distinguish between causal and correlational relationships in data.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 4

HS-ESS2.A1:Earth’s systems, being dynamic and interacting, cause feedback effects that can increase or decrease the original changes.

HS-ESS2.A3:The geological record shows that changes to global and regional climate can be caused by interactions among changes in the sun’s energy output or Earth’s orbit, tectonic events, ocean circulation, volcanic activity, glaciers, vegetation, and human activities. These changes can occur on a variety of time scales from sudden (e.g., volcanic ash clouds) to intermediate (ice ages) to very long-term tectonic cycles.

HS-ESS2.B2:Plate tectonics is the unifying theory that explains the past and current movements of the rocks at Earth’s surface and provides a framework for understanding its geologic history. Plate movements are responsible for most continental and ocean-floor features and for the distribution of most rocks and minerals within Earth’s crust.

HS-ESS3.B1:Natural hazards and other geologic events have shaped the course of human history; [they] have significantly altered the sizes of human populations and have driven human migrations.

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: 3

Asking Questions and Defining Problems, Developing and Using Models, Analyzing and Interpreting Data

HS-P1.1:Ask questions that arise from careful observation of phenomena, or unexpected results, to clarify and/or seek additional information.

HS-P2.6:Develop and/or use a model (including mathematical and computational) to generate data to support explanations, predict phenomena, analyze systems, and/or solve problems.

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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