Science From the Bottom of the World

The world's oceans, the creatures that live in the sea, and the climate that is influenced by the ocean are all connected. Watch as North Carolina researchers sample meltwater in Antarctica to predict impacts on the global ocean. Freshwater changes the density of the salt water in ocean. Changing the density of an ocean changes the ocean chemistry, and changes in chemistry change ocean biology. And a change in biology changes the ecology off the coast of North Carolina and oceans globally.

NGSS Performance Expectation: Construct an argument based on evidence about the simultaneous co-evolution of Earth systems and life on earth.

Discussion Questions:

  1. How does the density of ocean water differ from fresh water?
  2. What are the two factors controlling ocean density?
  3. When two different densities of water are mixed, which floats on top?
  4. How does the combination of temperature, salinity, and buoyancy drive the Great Ocean Conveyor belt?
  5. What is summer like in Antarctica?
  6. Is global warming in Antarctica occurring faster or slower than the rest of the globe?
  7. What are the researchers at Palmer Station in Antarctica measuring?
  8. What does the iron in the melt water do to the Southern Ocean’s primary productivity?
  9. Diagram the flow of water from the Palmer Station in Antarctica to Cape Hatteras, NC.
  10. What does this change in primary productivity in Antarctica mean for fisherman off the coast of North Carolina?


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