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  Seaweek 2003    

Exploring Our Oceans

Oceanography from Space

Investigation 1 - Ocean Surface Temperatures

Examples of Links to Curriculum and Standards Framework II

Biological Science
5.2 Describe interactions between living things and between living things and their non-living surroundings.
6.1 Explain how ecosystems are maintained in terms of energy and matter.
Earth Science
4.1 Relate the occurrence of natural events to atmospheric changes and movements of the Earth's crust and mantle.
Physical Science
5.1 Describe the characteristics and applications of the transmission and reflection of energy in the form of heat, light and sound.

Background Notes

Satellites and Oceans
The use of satellites in obtaining information about the oceans is the latest major step forward in understanding the oceans, and the way in which they behave. A range of satellites are currently orbiting the earth collecting information about the surface below them. Satellites can record accurate information from the entire globe in less than ten days; compare this with the voyages of the Challenger Expeditions (1872 - 1876) which took over four years. Satellites are also often linked to sensors attached to buoys floating in the ocean to allow information from below the surface to be collected.

Some of the information passively collected by satellites includes sea surface temperatures and the amount of phytoplankton in the water. In contrast, by actively sending out signals and bouncing them off the surface of the ocean scientists can also accurately measure change in the surface height of the oceans over large distances. This information is very useful in measuring and predicting climate change due to events like the 'El Nino Southern Oscillation".

Sea Surface Temperature
Measurement of the temperature of the ocean can tell us much about the movement of the ocean, its living systems, and help in the understanding of changes in climate.

Satellites equipped with sensors can measure the temperature of the surface of the ocean and present the information as images that give different temperatures as different colours. These colours are not the real colour of the ocean but a code to show the differences in sea surface temperature. These are images made by collecting many sets of temperature data and combining them using computers to form the image we see.

Measuring the temperature of the ocean in deeper water requires the use of recording devices attached to beacons or ships.

International teams of scientists are measuring ocean temperature in the Pacific Ocean to better understand how changes in water temperatures have dramatic effects on our climate.

Activity 1 - A Different View of the Ocean
Activity 2 - Where's Eddy Now?
Activity 3 - Cool Water Wonders

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Search site

  Planet Ocean
  Remote Sensing
  Investigation 1 - Ocean Surface Temperatures
  Investigation 2 - Phytoplankton Distribution
  Investigation 3 - El Nino Southern Oscillation
  Building WWW Remote Sensing Activities on Oceans

Moore Educational

Nautilus Educational


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