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Earth System Topics: Oceans

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Detecting El Niño in Sea Surface Temperature Data
David Smith, GLOBE; Betsy Youngman
DATA: Sea Surface Temperature (SST). TOOL: My World GIS. SUMMARY: Examine 15 years of SST data from the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory. Create and analyze average SST maps to identify El Nino and La Nina events.

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Is There a Trend in Hurricane Number or Intensity?
Todd Ellis, Western Michigan University
This lab guides students through an examination of the hurricane record to determine if there is a trend in hurricane intensity over the past 40 years and introduces some issues related to statistics and ...

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Estimating Exchange Rates of Water in Embayments using Simple Budget Equations.
Keith Sverdrup, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Simple budgets may be used to estimate the exchange of water in embayments that capitalize on the concept of steady state and conservation principals. This is especially true for bays that experience a significant exchange of freshwater. This exchange of freshwater may reduce the average salt concentration in the bay compared to seawater if it involves addition of freshwater from rivers, R, and/or precipitation, P. Alternatively, it may increase the average salt concentration in the bay compared to seawater if there is relatively little river input and high evaporation, E. Since freshwater input changes the salt concentration in the bay, and salt is a conservative material, it is possible to combine two steady state budgets for a bay, one for salt and one for water, to solve for the magnitude of the water flows that enter and exit the bay mouth. Students will make actual calculations for the inflow and outflow of water to Puget Sound, Washington and the Mediterranean Sea and compare them to actual measured values.

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Using Google Earth to measure seacliff erosion rates
Alfred Hochstaedter, Monterey Peninsula College
This lab uses Google Earth to measure the rate of seacliff retreat. It touches upon coastal processes, natural hazards, and coastal management issues. The central focus of the lab is in the Monterey Bay area.

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The Usefulness of Tidal Charts
Elizabeth Nagy-Shadman, Pasadena City College
This 8-page assignment on the topic of ocean tides is intended to be completed by students alone or in small groups during class (with the possible exception of the last page which requires access to the internet) ...

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Understanding Tides
Tim Cook, Worcester State University
In this activity students investigate tidal phenomena by exploring water level observational (or predicted tidal) data from several locations around the world that provide examples of semi-diurnal, diurnal, and ...

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Waves and Tides: Understanding Characteristics & Practice Problems
Stephanie Jaeger, Green River Community College
Part A: Students identify basic characteristics and terminology for waves. Part B: Students define factors that influence tides and practice using tide charts and tide tables.

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Learning About Marine Sediments Using Real Data
Kristen St. John, James Madison University
This exercise set explores marine sediments using real core photos and composition data from the scientific ocean drilling programs DSDP, ODP, and IODP in an inquiry-based approach.

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Ocean Gyre Circulation and Patterns of Global Primary Productivity
Megan Jones, North Hennepin Community College
This teaching activity provides a visual framework for understanding the relationship/connection between ocean gyre circulation and primary productivity. Students demonstrate their own understanding of surface ...

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Seasonal variation in light, mixing depth and primary productivity in temperate northern hemisphere waters
Lauren Sahl, Maine Maritime Academy
In this exercise students work with light, temperature, and phytoplankton biomass proxy (chlorophyll a concentration) data to; Become more skilled in reading and interpreting semi log graphs, temperature profiles, ...

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