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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


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.This animation shows the long-term average sea surface temperature, with red and yellow depicting warmer waters and blue depicting colder waters.  



The ocean's surface is not level, and sea levels change in response to changes in chemistry and temperature. Sophisticated satellite measurements are required for scientists to document current sea level rise.


In this activity, students make a claim about the cause of ocean currents and then develop a model to explain the role of temperature and density in deep ocean currents.  This lesson is modified from "Visit to an Ocean Planet" Caltech and NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory.



This activity invites students to model and observe the effect of melting ice sheets (from land) on sea level and the difference between the effect of melting sea-ice to that of melting land ice on sea level.


Review this animation showing monthly average wind speed at 10 meters above the ocean surface for our global ocean (meters per second) in 2017-2018.  This animation was created using the My NASA Data Earth System Data Explorer. For more information about how to create your own animation, see links at the bottom of this page.




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