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Ocean Acidification

K. Tjostheim, M. Price, B. Martin, King's Center for Visualization in Science

This simulation allows students to explore the change in sea surface pH levels with increasing CO2 levels.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Simulation/Interactive supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
High School: 6 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 5 Cross Cutting Concepts, 1 Science and Engineering Practice

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Increased acidity of oceans and negative impacts on food chain due to increasing carbon dioxide levels
About Teaching Principle 7
Other materials addressing 7d

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

  • Educators might want to review with the students the key terms used in the animation (see legend).
  • No scaffolding is provided and should be given to students when working with the animation.

About the Science

  • Shows the relationship between atmospheric CO2 concentrations and its effect on near sea surface pH and levels of carbonates.
  • Allows user to change CO2 concentrations manually and depicts how surface ocean pH changes accordingly.
  • Assumptions explain the limitations to the simulation as well as describes the basic trends being displayed.
  • Animation is based on the Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES). They were used in the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change (IPCC) emissions scenarios https://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/special-reports/spm/sres-en.pdf of the 3rd and 4th Climate Assessment. While the scenarios are not used in the most recent report the scenarios are still assumptions that visualize the difference in CO2 concentrations under different emission scenarios.
  • Comments from expert scientist: Nicely shows a simplified relationship between atmospheric CO2 and surface ocean pH.

About the Pedagogy

  • Lacks guided questions, but the ability to manually change the CO2 emissions provides opportunity for authentic exploration and inquiry on the part of the learner.
  • The SRES scenarios provide a basis for a greater discussion linking to future carbon concentration projections in relation to human adaption and mitigation techniques.
  • Animation is easy to understand and easy to manipulate.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Can only be accessed online (need internet connection).
  • Well-designed animation that is easy to manipulate.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Simulation/Interactive supports:

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 6

HS-ESS2.D1:The foundation for Earth’s global climate systems is the electromagnetic radiation from the sun, as well as its reflection, absorption, storage, and redistribution among the atmosphere, ocean, and land systems, and this energy’s re-radiation into space.

HS-ESS2.D2:Gradual atmospheric changes were due to plants and other organisms that captured carbon dioxide and released oxygen.

HS-ESS2.D3:Changes in the atmosphere due to human activity have increased carbon dioxide concentrations and thus affect climate.

HS-ESS2.E1:The many dynamic and delicate feedbacks between the biosphere and other Earth systems cause a continual co-evolution of Earth’s surface and the life that exists on it.

HS-LS2.B3:Photosynthesis and cellular respiration are important components of the carbon cycle, in which carbon is exchanged among the biosphere, atmosphere, oceans, and geosphere through chemical, physical, geological, and biological processes.

HS-PS3.D2:The main way that solar energy is captured and stored on Earth is through the complex chemical process known as photosynthesis.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 5

Patterns, Cause and effect, Stability and Change

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.

HS-C7.1:Much of science deals with constructing explanations of how things change and how they remain stable.

HS-C7.2:Change and rates of change can be quantified and modeled over very short or very long periods of time. Some system changes are irreversible.

HS-C7.3:Feedback (negative or positive) can stabilize or destabilize a system.

Science and Engineering Practices: 1

Developing and Using Models

HS-P2.3:Develop, revise, and/or use a model based on evidence to illustrate and/or predict the relationships between systems or between components of a system

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