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Earth: An animated map of global wind and weather
http://earth.nullschool.net

This animation depicts real-time wind speed and direction at selected heights above Earth's surface, ocean surface currents, and ocean surface temperatures and anomalies.

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, 3 Science and Engineering Practices
High School: 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 2 Cross Cutting Concepts, 2 Science and Engineering Practices

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

  • Animation will require teacher support to extrapolate information, make sense of visualization, and place concepts in larger context of climate change. Teachers might allow students to explore the animation first before discussing as a group.
  • Teacher would want to direct students to lower left link and provide support for acronyms and abbreviations.
  • Teacher should provide support for students when presented with animation (i.e., help in finding "more info," understanding of ocean vs. wind, distance from sea level, etc.)
  • Visualization should be paired with or used after a lesson on weather or ocean and atmospheric circulation. Links can be made by students between different types of data displayed, but may need to be guided as to which data to display and explore in order to discover the connections.
  • Depending on student grade level and instructor's background, a key for the various selectable options for the data displayed may be useful.

About the Science

  • Animated real-time data from various sources on air and oceans projected onto a world map is visually engaging.
  • Data sources provided.
  • Comments from expert scientist: This tool is a great piece for demonstration in both a meteorology or an oceanography course. It shows current winds and ocean currents in a visually stunning and engaging way. The tools are easy to use, with several map projections available to display the relevant data. The data sources are identified and reliable. This is not a great standalone piece, however. There is no text to give context regarding the data displayed. The educator will need to provide the educational context for the students.

About the Pedagogy

  • Very visually engaging. May require some scaffolding and explanation of terms used.
  • Students can observe real-time global air and ocean currents anywhere on the globe. Students can zoom in and out in order to focus on more localized areas or large scale global patterns. Students can also choose from a range of map projections.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Visually appealing animation pulls data from a number of sources to show air and ocean currents at various temperatures, heights, and more.
  • Resource map is updated regularly with real-time data. Does have some explanation of sources and how to read the data. Presents information visually only.
  • Internet access needed in order to use the visualization.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Animation supports:

Middle School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 4

MS-ESS2.C2:The complex patterns of the changes and the movement of water in the atmosphere, determined by winds, landforms, and ocean temperatures and currents, are major determinants of local weather patterns.

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

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: 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: 3

Analyzing and Interpreting Data, Asking Questions and Defining Problems

MS-P1.3:Ask questions to determine relationships between independent and dependent variables and relationships in models.

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.

High School

Disciplinary Core Ideas: 2

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.

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: 2

Asking Questions and Defining Problems, Analyzing and Interpreting Data

HS-P1.3:ask questions to determine relationships, including quantitative relationships, between independent and dependent variables

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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