Science ObjectDigital resources are stored online in your NSTA Library.
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 first of four Science Objects in the Ocean’s Effect on Weather and Climate SciPack. It explores global weather and climate patterns, focusing on why different conditions exist in specific areas. Earth’s weather patterns, which consist of different conditions of temperature, precipitation, humidity, wind, air pressure, and other atmospheric phenomena, result in various climate zones across the globe. Weather and climate are the result of the transfer of energy from the Sun at and near the surface of Earth. Solar radiation heats land masses, oceans, and air differently, resulting in the constant transfer of energy as energy is “balanced” across the globe. Transfer of thermal energy at the boundaries between the atmosphere, land masses, and the oceans—influenced by dynamic processes such as cloud cover and relatively static conditions such as the position of mountain ranges and oceans—results in layers of different temperatures and densities in both the ocean and atmosphere. The action of gravitational force on regions of different densities causes them to rise or fall, forming convection currents (cells). This circulation, influenced by the rotation of the earth, produces winds and ocean currents.