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Education: The Ocean's Influence on Climate

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Explain that the ocean holds a large amount of heat and the effect this has on climate (NSES,160; NAAEE,30; OLS,11)
Explain the effect of solar energy on wind and cloud formation and the effect solar energy, wind and clouds have on climate (NSES,160,189; NAAEE,30; OLS,11)
Ocean circulation
Density-Driven Deep Ocean Circulation See this process in motion!
Ocean currents
Temperature and Surface Currents Atlantic & Eastern Pacific Ocean
Ocean currents
Temperature and Surface Currents Indian & Western Pacific Ocean
How Does the Ocean Influence Climate?
Aquarius measured ocean surface salinity, a climate-sensitive variable that - along with satellites that measure ocean currents, sea surface temperature, winds, and ocean color - helps scientists study how global ocean circulation responds to climate change. Why salinity? Changes in ocean saltiness can affect the density of water and play a major role in ocean circulation. Along with dissolved salt, these currents move heat around the globe. Heat that is carried by the ocean affects wind and cloud formation in the atmosphere. Thus ocean heat controls climate, no matter how far you live from the shore. As important, as salinity is a key surface tracer of fresh water input to output from the ocean, Aquarius also provided much-needed information for global water cycle research.

Featured Movie: Aquarius Pre-Launch Mission Overview

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