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Sea Surface Salinity Influence on Earth's Climate

Brooke Harris, NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

This short NASA video focuses on the Aquarius satellite, which was launched in 2011 to observe how variations in ocean salinity relate to climatic changes. By measuring salinity globally, Aquarius shows the ocean's role in climate change and climate's effects on ocean circulation.

Video length: 2:13 min.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

About the Content

  • Water's salinity and temperature, which together determine seawater density, regulate ocean circulation.
  • Computer models help to predict global temperatures, but ocean salinity is measured in a number of ways. NASA earth-orbit satellites, such as Aquarius, measure a wide variety of variables such as rainfall, surface wind, sea surface temperature (SST), sea level, and even ocean color. Observations like this help unlock the links between the ocean and climate.
  • Comments from expert scientist: This video describes how satellites measure sea surface salinity (SSS) and how the SSS measurements fit into the satellite oceanography constellation. Video describes how the instruments work and what extra measurements need to be taken in order to make the most accurate assessment of SSS.

About the Pedagogy

  • Teacher can reinforce the nature of science principles during the video. The video itself serves as a great visualization to support a discussion of the importance of satellite observations to help develop computer models.
  • The video can also be used to show students how satellites work, how scientists observe the Earth from space (remote sensing), and how the ocean dynamics are measured.
  • The transcript at http://aquarius.nasa.gov/pdfs/aquarius_climate_transcript.pdf can be used by hearing impaired users.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

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

Also see NASA's Eyes on the Earth 3D: http://climate.nasa.gov/Eyes/
Entered the Collection: March 2013 Last Reviewed: October 2016

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