b. Covering 70% of Earth's surface, the ocean exerts a major control on climate by dominating Earth's energy and water cycles. It has the capacity to absorb large amounts of solar energy. Heat and water vapor are redistributed globally through density-driven ocean currents and atmospheric circulation. Changes in ocean circulation caused by tectonic movements or large influxes of fresh water from melting polar ice can lead to significant and even abrupt changes in climate, both locally and on global scales.

This activity utilizes labs, online resources, and student ideas to build an understanding of polar climates, how changes in polar oceans can affect coastal climates, and how changes in polar regions affect climates elsewhere on Earth.

In this activity, students will practice the steps involved in a scientific investigation as they learn why ice formations on land (and not those on water) will cause a rise in sea level upon melting. This is a discovery lesson in ice and water density and displacement of water by ice floating on the surface as it relates to global climate change.

This brief, hands-on activity illustrates the different heating capacities of soil and water in order to understand why places near the sea have a more moderate climate than those inland.

In this classroom activity, students access sea surface temperature and wind speed data from a NASA site, plot and compare data, draw conclusions about surface current and sea surface temperature, and link their gained understanding to concerns about global climate change.

In this role-playing activity, learners are presented with a scenario in which they determine whether the Gulf Stream is responsible for keeping northern Europe warm. They must also address the potential future of the Gulf Stream if polar ice were to continue melting. The students work in small groups to identify the issue, discuss the problem, and develop a problem statement. They are then asked what they need to know to solve the problem.

In this activity for undergraduate students, learners build a highly simplified computer model of thermohaline circulation (THC) in the North Atlantic Ocean and conduct a set of simulation experiments to understand the complex dynamics inherent in this simple model.

The NOAA Ocean Service Education lab requires students create and manipulate solutions simulating different ocean water characteristics in order to recognize that the effects of salinity and temperature are the drivers of thermohaline circulation.

This video highlights research conducted at Woods Hole on how heat absorbed by the ocean and changes of ocean chemistry from human activities could lead to a tipping point for marine life and ecosystems. Includes ice bath experiment that models the tipping point of Arctic sea ice.

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