Jump to this Video »
Changing Planet: Fresh Water in the Arctic

NBC Learn, NESTA - Windows to the Universe

This Changing Planet video documents scientists' concerns regarding how melting Arctic sea ice will increase the amount of fresh water in the Beaufort Gyre, which could spill out into the Atlantic and cause major climate shifts in North America and Western Europe. The video includes interviews with scientists and a look at the basics of how scientists measure salinity in the ocean and how ocean circulation works in the Arctic.

Video length 5:18 min.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

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

About the Content

  • This video examines the impacts of fresh water flowing into the Arctic Ocean from ice and rivers on thermohaline circulation using advanced, specifically-designed engineering.
  • Scientists profiled are from Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute and other research institutes.
  • Good background information and references given in the accompanying lesson plan: http://www.windows2universe.org/teacher_resources/leaky_gyre.html.
  • Comments from expert scientist: The video presents a very nice summary of fresh water changes in the Arctic and their impacts. It is very clear and the language is at a level that students of at middle school and above level should be able to understand. It highlights a concept that is not discussed as much in the Arctic (e.g., sea ice, Greenland), but it is very important. The graphics are well done and informative. It is also nice to see the "process" shown - i.e., the buoys and the instruments - as opposed to just the data and conclusions. The main concern is that it looks a bit out of date. The most recent data shown is 2010, which is now 7 years ago. I think newer data indicates some changes in the freshwater trends that are shown. It is still valuable because of the solid theoretical science information provided and the presentation of the observation methods. But it would benefit if it was presented paired with more recent data, if such data is available.

About the Pedagogy

  • The video outlines the issues of fresh water flowing into the Arctic Sea and the challenges that scientists face collecting data there.
  • Teachers should be aware (and pass on to students) that climate change will have different impacts in different parts of the world and that it won't be "warming" everywhere.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Video quality is not ideal; video may be pixelated at larger viewing sizes.

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

Accompanying lesson plan with activities "The Case of the Leaky Gyre" - http://www.windows2universe.org/teacher_resources/leaky_gyre.html
Entered the Collection: January 2012 Last Reviewed: December 2016

Jump to this Video »