This investigation is part of the NASA: Mission Geography Module "What are the causes and consequences of climate change?" that guides students through explorations in climatic variability and evidence for global climate change.
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Students analyze the relationship between sea surface height and ocean surface currents by graphing sea height using satellite data. Note: This lesson is modified from NASA's TOPEX/Poseidon lesson plan.
Check out this monthly 2018 poster card set featuring two science variables related to Ocean Circulation:
- Surface Ocean Current Velocity Vectors (m/s)
- Monthly Near-Surface Wind Vectors (m/s)
Analyze these satellite images comparing Ocean Chlorophyll Concentrations with Sea Surface Temperatures beginning with the North Atlantic region, then expanding global patterns of these phenomena. Credit: NASA Earth Observatory
Review this mapped plot of the historic Ocean Chlorophyll Concentrations of key locations around the world for the period of 1998-2018. Also, consider using the Map Cube to help students with deeper dives into data analysis. Credit: NASA, NOAA
Exploring salinity patterns is a great way to better understand the relationships between the water cycle, ocean circulation, and climate. Explore sea surface salinity mapped plots created from the Earth System Data Explorer, paired with questions (and answers) from the Aquarius Mission. Credit: Aquarius Education
Students observe images of daily average sea surface temperatures taken during 2017, as they analyze the plots for evidence of changes that are occurring throughout the year.
Can you tell El Nino from La Nina? This interactive was created by UCAR Center for Science Education using satellite images of the height of the ocean surface. Students interpret these images to identify whether they represent El Nino, La Nina, or neither event (La Nada!).