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This activity is designed to introduce students to geologic processes on Earth and how to identify geologic features in images. It will also introduce students to how scientists use Earth to gain a better understanding of other planetary bodies in the solar system.
Students will practice constructing claims using evidence and reasoning.
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.
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.
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 Earth acts as a giant engine that uses solar power to move air in the atmosphere and water in the ocean.
Check out this hands-on demonstration of the El Niño Effect, trade winds, and upwelling provided by NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab
Credit: JPL's Sea Level Program
Check out this the Arctic and Earth SIGNs video to explore how climate models are used in climate change research.
In this lesson, students will conduct labs investigate the drivers of climate change, including adding carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, sea level rise, and the effect of decreasing sea ice on temperatures.