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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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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) ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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The Boxing Day Tsunami
Glenn Richard, SUNY at Stony Brook
Undergraduate students map data from the National Geophysical Data Center and the United States Geological Survey on Google Earth and study visualizations in order to explore the causes and effects of the Tsunami ...

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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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Is There a Trend in Hurricane Number or Intensity?
Todd Ellis, SUNY College at Oneonta
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 ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Analyzing Real-Time and Historical Wave and Sea Surface Data
Amy Stinson, Irvine Valley College
Students gather and analyze real-time and historical wave height, and sea surface temperature data with emphasis on U.S. west coast and Southern California locations. Analysis of the wave height data allows ...

Temperature/Salinity/Density activity
Petra Dekens, San Francisco State University
This is an in-class activity designed to improve the students' understanding of the relationships between temperature and density, salinity and density, and density differences in driving vertical water ...

Tropical Cyclones, Sea Surface Temperature, and Beyond
Danielle Schmitt, Princeton University
The activity will use historical data of sea surface temperature and tropical cyclone origin and/or tracks to identify trends. Students use Arc GIS to explore projected SST changes and predict areas where tropical ...

Mapping Paleocurrents: Using the Past to Understand the Present
Laurie Grigg, Norwich University
In this activity, students are given a series of world maps showing the different configurations of the continents through geologic history. Working back from the present, students reconstruct the location of past ...

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