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NOAA View Data Exploration Tool

NOAA - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

This data viewing tool from NOAA offers nearly instant access to dozens of datasets about Earth through an engaging interface. Users can select data categories from atmosphere, ocean, land, cryosphere, and climate and drill down from there into more detailed categories.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Simulation/Interactive supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 7 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 3 Cross Cutting Concepts, 7 Science and Engineering Practices
High School: 4 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 4 Cross Cutting Concepts, 2 Science and Engineering Practices

Climate Literacy
About Teaching Climate Literacy

Observations are the foundation for understanding the climate system
About Teaching Principle 5
Other materials addressing 5b

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

  • Could be used as a tool for exploration of various global data and trends, or it could be used as a resource for teachers to focus in on one or two very specific trends.
  • Is largely a visual tool and detailed quantitative analysis (i.e. graphing) are not possible. That said, there is plenty of analysis that can be done from this tool. And it is engaging.
  • Great tool for exploring relationships among ocean, atmosphere, land, cryosphere, climate (e.g. precipitation and vegetation) if images are viewed side by side.
  • The ability to view the data over time could inform discussions of what might be driving those large scale trends (i.e. human impact vs. natural variability).
  • The interactive nature of the tool fosters genuine inquiry. Students can be let loose with the tool to see what patterns, trends, or hypotheses they can come up with.
  • Students could come up with a question, use the tool to answer it, and then challenge other students to see if they can find the answer to the same question. This instructional technique is described in the Physics Face Off activity.
  • Educator should encourage students to view the demo video before using the tool.
  • Some of the climate projections start in 2100 and the maps can look a little dire. Be alert for for students' psychological response to potentially depressing projections.
  • For lower grade levels, pair the tool with an appropriate grade-level activity.

About the Science

  • This is a stunning tool for showing large-scale, global trends in atmospheric, oceanic, or terrestrial data as either a snapshot or over time.
  • Over 50 datasets are available in the tool. Once the primary category has been selected, further options are presented to the user. In many cases the data is available over different time periods. The data can be historical, recent, near real-time, or projected. The time scale can be adjusted to show weeks, years, or customized time periods.
  • Allows for one global view (i.e. cannot rotate the image to show the North Pole) but can zoom in to locations.
  • Background information on each particular dataset is available via the "information" button.
  • Comments from expert scientist:
    Scientific strengths:
    Absolutely amazing, the educational objectives with this are limitless!
    - high resolution data
    - ability to go from metric to US
    - many options for data selection including ocean, atmosphere, land, climate, cryosphere, and climate models
    - ability to simulate precipitation, ocean/air temperature, and sea ice under different GHG emission scenarios

About the Pedagogy

  • The visual allows the learner to explore trends in various types of data.
  • The user-friendly, intuitive design of the tool will encourage student exploration.
  • This is a tool only. There are not accompanying learning materials.
  • Further research, explanation, and definition of the what the data means may be necessary.
  • Two-minute video tour explains the various options in displaying and downloading the images.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Excellent visual quality and high usability. Many users will find themselves immediately immersed in the data.
  • For each set of data selected, user can obtain background information, make screen captures, download the data, share the views, and change settings.
  • Capture and download data allows for offline viewing. Cannot download the source data from this tool.
  • Sometimes the tool gets "stuck" in one view and the page needs to be reloaded as a reset in order to view a different type of data. Similarly, sometimes it may be necessary to hit the tool's "back" button several times to return to the main menu.
  • Sound accompanying the demo video is close-captioned.
  • Users can subscribe to periodic updates of the data/tool.

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

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 7

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.C1:Water continually cycles among land, ocean, and atmosphere via transpiration, evaporation, condensation and crystallization, and precipitation, as well as downhill flows on land.

MS-ESS2.C3:Global movements of water and its changes in form are propelled by sunlight and gravity.

MS-ESS2.C4:Variations in density due to variations in temperature and salinity drive a global pattern of interconnected ocean currents.

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-ESS2.D3:The ocean exerts a major influence on weather and climate by absorbing energy from the sun, releasing it over time, and globally redistributing it through ocean currents.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 3

Patterns, Cause and effect

MS-C1.3: Patterns can be used to identify cause and effect relationships.

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: 7

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-P1.5:Ask questions that require sufficient and appropriate empirical evidence to answer.

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.

MS-P4.4:Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for phenomena.

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.C1:The abundance of liquid water on Earth’s surface and its unique combination of physical and chemical properties are central to the planet’s dynamics. These properties include water’s exceptional capacity to absorb, store, and release large amounts of energy, transmit sunlight, expand upon freezing, dissolve and transport materials, and lower the viscosities and melting points of rocks.

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.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.

Cross Cutting Concepts: 4

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.

HS-C2.2:Cause and effect relationships can be suggested and predicted for complex natural and human designed systems by examining what is known about smaller scale mechanisms within the system.

HS-C2.4:Changes in systems may have various causes that may not have equal effects.

Science and Engineering Practices: 2

Asking Questions and Defining Problems, Analyzing and Interpreting Data

HS-P1.2:ask questions that arise from examining models or a theory, to clarify and/or seek additional information and relationships.

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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