Ocean's Effect on Weather and Climate: Global Precipitation and Energy

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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 second of four Science Objects in the Ocean’s Effect on Weather and Climate SciPack. It explores the distribution of water and energy on Earth. The cycling of water in and out of the atmosphere and oceans affects Earth’s climates by influencing patterns of precipitation and by transferring energy between the oceans and the atmosphere. As water moves through the water cycle, it evaporates from Earth’s surface, rises and cools, condenses into rain, snow, or ice, and falls back to the surface. The water falling on land collects in rivers and lakes, soil, and porous layers of rock, and much of it eventually flows back into the ocean. The water cycle connects the oceans to all of Earth’s water reservoirs via evaporation and precipitation. The ocean loses thermal energy due to the evaporation of water. This energy transfer drives atmospheric circulation as water moves to the atmosphere as vapor and eventually condenses, releasing thermal energy to the surrounding air.

  • Elementary
  • Middle

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Reviews (18)
  • on Sat Oct 17, 2015 5:13 PM

Global Precipitation and Energy The first sentence in the Science Pak’s introduction, “Imagine a world without water” grabbed my immediate attention. I, for just a very brief moment, considered this and thought about how this would be impossible if you look at it from a biblical perspective. Even in the beginning of God’s creation when the earth was formless and empty the bible verse, “darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters, indicates that water was here. So for me it’s hard to even imagine. I guess if you were to even consider such you should definitely consider a lifeless world. Knowing that up to approximately 60% of the human adult body is water and that water is a major importance to all living things is just a mere thought that I really have never even wasted my time thinking of. I really enjoyed the demonstration of convection current in a pot of water. As much as I boil water on the stove top when cooking oatmeal or boiling eggs or creating my own distilled water etc. I have never really thought about the process of it all until looking at the Science Object. I can remember learning about the water cycle in grade school and even having to do projects on the water cycle for display that were really great. Watching the interactive videos brought back a lot of great memories. The main thing that came to mind was how amazing the earth is in taking care of itself! With a little help from each of us we could really be an asset to something that’s so rich and resourceful for all of us.

Kizzy Amos
Kizzy Amos

  • on Thu Oct 15, 2015 6:16 PM

This article reminds of the article of how the ocean affected the climate. However, this article speaks to the water cycle and the influence it plays in the world. Perception is key ingredient in the world. It is essential part of how earth works. I love how it digs deep and helps explain how molecules move according to how hot they are and how cold they are in different objects. This is a great way to expand on how heat works in many different grades.

Gerard Latimore
Gerard Latimore

  • on Thu Oct 15, 2015 5:12 PM

This Sci pack was very interesting. I love learning about the ocean and everything associated with it. The ocean plays a fundamental role in shaping the climate zones we see on land. Even areas hundreds of miles away from any coastline are still largely influenced by the global ocean system. It continues to amaze me to learn more and more about the ocean and climate.

Tanya Barrett
Tanya Barrett

  • on Thu Oct 01, 2015 1:38 PM

This is the most relevant SciPack I have completed to date. As an elementary school educator I’ve found that many SciPacks are informative but above grade level to be used in the classroom. Yet, many of the interactive pictures and displays presented in this SciPack can be utilized in the elementary classroom setting. Also, the water experiment suggestions are age appropriate for elementary students. I also consider myself a hands on and visual learner. The SciPack kept me interested by providing several interactive displays and visuals to explain concepts. Lastly, I was able to correct my teaching after reading a common misconception associated with the different changes of water matter. The SciPack stated that a student misconception is assuming water vapors from boiling water is evaporation rather than recognizing evaporating liquids are invisible.

Papillon  (Atlanta, GA)
Papillon (Atlanta, GA)

  • on Wed Sep 03, 2014 5:37 AM

I really enjoy Science Objects. In 1-3 hours, the Ocean's Effect on Weather and Climate: Global Precipitation and Energy 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.

Naomi Beverly  (Marietta, GA)
Naomi Beverly (Marietta, GA)

  • on Tue Dec 27, 2011 12:36 AM

Great simulations and animations of the water cycle. This resource does a good job taking us on a journey of the pathways that water can travel; from ground water surface run-off, to the oceans, to evaporation, condensation, and precipitation. As an educator, I look forward to using this resource with my scholars as we research Earth's Waters and Weather & Climate.

Lorrie Armfield  (Laurel, MD)
Lorrie Armfield (Laurel, MD)

  • on Fri Dec 16, 2011 8:45 PM

This Science Object gives an exemplary accounting of the water cycle! The diagrams, simulations and maps show the impact of water on the entire Earth's weather and climate; surely a treasure trove of information for teachers to share with their students!

Duane Little  (Washington, DC)
Duane Little (Washington, DC)

  • on Thu Nov 11, 2010 10:45 AM

Beginning with the water cycle, this resource leads the reader through a well-organized overview of water resources, including freshwater, groundwater, ice, and oceans, and the significance of energy in changing the states of water and movement of water. Excellent resource.

Jennifer Rahn  (Delafield, WI)
Jennifer Rahn (Delafield, WI)

  • on Sun Sep 23, 2007 10:11 AM

I have not recieved this item as of yet but it sounds like a terrific resource.

madden kathryn  (beaufort, SC)
madden kathryn (beaufort, SC)

  • on Fri Jan 25, 2019 1:22 AM

I think this a great tool for students to understand the importance of oceans temperatures and its effects on the climate of specific areas in the world. Many students go through school without learning this concept!!

Gilberto Garcia  (La Puente, CA)
Gilberto Garcia (La Puente, CA)

  • on Thu Oct 22, 2015 5:31 PM

This Science Object covered the water cycle and how solar energy is transferred. It discussed how 97% of the earth is water and how without water, the earth would be too cold to sustain human life. The detail of the material is thorough and in-depth. While I have taught the water cycle numerous times, I was still introduced to new concepts.

Bianca Jones
Bianca Jones

  • on Thu Oct 22, 2015 10:59 AM

I think that this was overall a very informative resource. It is a little advanced for elementary school but I can definitely see myself using this with my classroom! Very helpful!

Stephanie R
Stephanie R

  • on Thu Oct 15, 2015 5:52 PM

In the Global Precipitation and Energy Science Object explored the water cycle and how solar energy is transferred among the surface, the oceans, and the atmosphere of Earth. The cycling of water influences patterns of precipitation drives the global climate. I loved the graphics used and to describe the water cycle and the flow of precipitation.

JeRita Humphrey
JeRita Humphrey

  • on Thu Oct 15, 2015 5:26 PM

This SciPack explains the water cycle and how the earth recycles existing water because the supply is limited. This cycle is made up of a few main parts: evaporation (and transpiration), condensation precipitation, and collection. Although the information is present in a second grade standard, this SciPack is more appropriate for older students.

Charnita W
Charnita W

  • on Thu Oct 15, 2015 4:59 PM

This is a good resource to teach the water cycle and how energy plays a role in the water cycle.

Felicia Anthony
Felicia Anthony

  • on Mon Oct 12, 2015 7:09 PM

This was another informal resource that I can revisit before teaching the unit on the states of matter and the water cycle. Figure 2.4 was very informally as it related to understanding the what causes the changes in the water cycle. I think the subtopics "Surface Water," "Ground Water," and "Oceans and Global Temperatures could be ideal informational text for my students to read.

Adriane Woods
Adriane Woods

  • on Sat Sep 26, 2015 3:25 PM

Great article! The examples of the various water sources were new to me. I understand that is there isn't any water or enery exchange there will be too hot or too cold temperatures. I will conduct an experiement this week on surface tension and the explanation of water drops. Students will get an opportunity to see the connection between change with surface tension. Solar energy is important with the water cycle. The evaporation and condensation cannot happen without solar energy.

Linda Howard
Linda Howard

  • on Sun Sep 18, 2011 3:18 PM

Way too difficult for lower elementary students

Hubert H  (Dallas, TX)
Hubert H (Dallas, TX)

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