Resource Image Ocean's Effect on Climate and Weather: Global Circulation Patterns
Free Offering
$0 - Member Price  
$0 - Nonmember Price


Type of Resource: Science Object
Average Rating: Rating
 based on 9 reviews
Publication Title: None
Grade Level: Elementary School, Middle School


Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object, co-developed between NOAA and NSTA, is the third of four Science Objects in the Ocean’s Effect on Weather and Climate SciPack. It explores ocean circulation patterns and the effect oceans have on climate. Water in the oceans hold a lot of thermal energy (more than an equal amount of land). Throughout the ocean there is a global, interconnected circulation system that transfers this thermal energy across Earth. The shape of ocean basins and adjacent land masses influence the path of circulation. As ocean currents transfer thermal energy to various locations, the temperature of the atmosphere above the ocean is affected. For example, the condensation of water that has been evaporated from warm seas provides the energy for hurricanes and cyclones. When the pattern of thermal energy released into the atmosphere changes, global weather patterns are affected. An example of a large-scale change like this is the El Niño Southern Oscillation, which changes the pattern of thermal energy released into the atmosphere in the Pacific.

Ideas For Use


Coral Reef Ecosystems
Posted in Life Science by Kendra Young on Tue Jul 03, 2012 10:08 AM

I see Ronaldo has already shared his experience about the Coral Reef SciPack - thanks, Ronaldo! Did you also know you...

Additional Info

Science Discipline: (mouse over for full classification)
Global climate change
Intended User Role:Elementary-Level Educator, Middle-Level Educator, Teacher
Educational Issues:Inquiry learning, Professional development, Teacher content knowledge, Teaching strategies


Resource Format:
Size: KB
Installation Remarks:

National Standards Correlation

This resource has 3 correlations with the National Standards.  

This resource has 3 correlations with the National Standards.  

  • Earth Science
    • Changes in earth and sky
      • The surface of the earth changes.
      • Weather changes from day to day and over the seasons.
      • Weather can be described by measurable quantities, such as temperature, wind direction and speed, and precipitation.

State Standards Correlation

Use the form below to view which of your state standards this resource addresses.

User Reviews

I Love Science Objects!
  Naomi Beverly (Marietta, GA) on September 3, 2014
  I really enjoy Science Objects. In 1-3 hours, the Ocean's Effect on Climate and Weather: Global Circulation Patterns Science Object will help me re-learn, refresh, or learn for the first time some critical science concepts I will have to know to obtain my Science Educator credentials. I appreciate that I can complete them at my own pace, and that, if used as park of a SciPack, I have access to a content expert to go to for help. The NSTA Learning Center Science Objects are very beneficial! Not only will they enrich my teaching, the knowledge will enrich my life.

Oceans Effect #4'
  Anne (Maysville, NC) on July 9, 2012
  I found this a very informative piece. It clearly explains the oceans currents and how they create and and affect weather in different parts of the world. The interactives and included quizzes helped me to understand the concepts and then check my understanding. I think the interactives would be great to use in the classroom.

Global Circulation Patterns
  Celia (Forestville, MD) on April 2, 2012
  This is a helpful resource material for enriching lessons on the effect of ocean on climate and weather. Students will find this as a more comprehensive view on how global circulation patterns be effected by oceans and other bodies of water.

A 'One Stop Study Shop' on Circulation Patterns
  Lorrie Armfield (Laurel, MD) on December 27, 2011
  As ocean water moves around the globe, its temperature changes depending on the amount of solar energy it absorbs or releases at any given location; this affects the weather and climate of places located near oceans. Wow...the clarity with which this resource explains global circulation patterns is great. The ocean and wind circulation interactives and the hands-on activities help the reader to visualize and better understand the science concepts. In addition, the graphics and diagrams are brilliant, and hook and hold the attention of a diverse scholar population. Excellent resource.

Ties atmosphere to the oceans
  Jennifer Rahn (Delafield, WI) on November 11, 2010
  This resource does a solid job of tying global weather circulation patterns in the atmosphere to ocean circulation. Good sims and examples are provided, and could be used by middle school age students to reinforce concepts.

Excellent learning tool!
  Christine Shultz (Riverview, FL) on June 8, 2009
  The global circulation patterns resource was highly informative, with animations and clickable explanations generously scattered throughout. Highly recommended!

I like It
  kelly d (blacksburg, SC) on September 19, 2008
  I like the resource

Circulation Patterns
  Duane Little (Washington, DC) on December 16, 2011
  I noticed in this Science Object that the wind and ocean currents all "circulate" in a circular motion. The ocean currents are affected by the wind currents but I didn't grasp why the wind currents move in a circular pattern! Maybe working on this Friday evening after a long workweek had me in a daze; who knows! Good, relevant information of relative difficulty to "master"?

Ocean/Climate Study
  Jessie Minter (Hico, Texas) on April 4, 2009
  The text material, the animations, the interactive support was outstanding!!! I was engaged the whole time. I liked being able to go back and forth in the material to review and confirm my learning. The difficulty I experienced was in the wording of the quiz. Probably, I'll become accustomed to it.