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Education: Effects of Temperature on Density and Circulation

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Explain the effect of temperature on density (NSES,180; OLS,12)
Explain the effect of density on ocean circulation (NSES,154; OLS,10)
Explain the effect of solar energy heat on ocean circulation (NSES,155,161; NAAEE,35; OLS,11)
Go with the flow game
Go With the Flow Steer your sub to sunken treasure by driving currents
Density demonstration
Density Demonstration See how liquids of different density form layers
Surface currents
Perpetual Ocean Watch surface currents flow
What are the Effects of Temperature on Seawater Density and Circulation?
With temperature, salinity determines seawater density and buoyancy, driving the extent of ocean stratification, mixing and water mass formation. Aquarius is highly complementary to existing satellite programs that monitor sea surface temperature because, together, salinity and temperature control density at the ocean surface. Sea-surface density drives formation of ocean water masses and three-dimensional ocean circulation. Thus better understanding of ocean salinity patterns improves understanding of the ocean's capacity to store and transport heat. Salinity plays a major role in how ocean waters circulate around the globe. Salinity changes can create ocean circulation changes that, in turn, may impact regional and global climates.

Featured Movie: Aquarius and Ocean Circulation
Ocean circulation

Hands-On Activities
Online Activities