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Salinity is key to studying the water cycle and ocean circulation, both of which are related to climate. Over decades, the amount of salt in ocean basins has been fairly stable. The water cycle operates on much faster time scales, however, causing changes in salinity patterns.
The Sea-Viewing Wide Field-of-View Sensor (SeaWiFS) instrument aboard the Seastar satellite collected ocean data for more than a decade.
The Earth acts as a giant engine that uses solar power to move air in the atmosphere and water in the ocean.
Turbulent storms churn the ocean in winter, adding nutrients to sunlit waters near the surface. Each spring this gives rise to massive blooms of phytoplankton. These microscopic plants harvest vital energy from sunlight through photosynthesis.
The world's ocean is heated at the surface by the sun, and this heating is uneven for many reasons. Earth's rotation, revolution around the sun, and tilt all play a role, as do the wind-driven ocean surface currents.
In Part A of this lab, students will examine a variety of images and maps of the whole Earth in order to identify the major components of the Earth system at a global scale.
Students play the role of nitrogen atoms traveling through the nitrogen cycle to gain an understanding of the varied pathways through the cycle and the relevance of nitrogen to living things.
The processes comprising the Earth’s environment are interconnected.
Students will practice constructing claims using evidence and reasoning.