Ocean Currents and Sea Surface Temperature

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.

Go To:

Joan Carter
NASA - My NASA Data Collection
Activity takes one to two class periods. Computer access is necessary for students.

Notes From Our Reviewers

The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials

Teaching Tips

Teaching Tips

Basically a good framework for an activity and great resource links, but activity needs to be developed further for students to learn much from the experience, e.g. How to draw the current direction and color will need to be more developed.

Educators will need to provide significant background information for students so they can complete the assignment and participate fully in the discussions.

Students are asked to use NASA's Live Access Server to collect two maps (one for SST and one for wind speed). Make sure that the students use the same date and region when compiling the two maps.

Students are asked to compare their maps with others in the class. It is useful for students to compare a variety of regions for the same time period or the same region over a variety of time periods. It may be less useful for students to compare maps that vary on both time and region.

Educators can find some supporting materials at NOAA's The Ocean's Role in Weather and Climate Educator Professional development site; http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/education/pd/oceans_weather_climate/welcome....