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What causes the sea level to change?s
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This visualization explains in simple and easy-to-understand visuals the causes of sea-level change.
Science and Engineering Practices
Use graphical displays (e.g., maps, charts, graphs, and/or tables) of large data sets to identify temporal and spatial relationships.
Ask questions that arise from careful observation of phenomena, models, or unexpected results, to clarify and/or seek additional information.
Ask questions to determine relationships between independent and dependent variables and relationships in models.
Ask questions that arise from careful observation of phenomena, or unexpected results, to clarify and/or seek additional information.
Ask questions to determine relationships, including quantitative relationships, between independent and dependent variables.
Disciplinary Core Ideas
Although energy cannot be destroyed, it can be converted to less useful forms—for example, to thermal energy in the surrounding environment.
The abundance of liquid water on Earth’s surface and its unique combination of physical and chemical properties are central to the planet’s dynamics. These properties include water’s exceptional capacity to absorb, store, and release large amounts of energy, transmit sunlight, expand upon freezing, dissolve and transport materials, and lower the viscosities and melting points of rocks.
The foundation for Earth’s global climate systems is the electromagnetic radiation from the sun, as well as its reflection, absorption, storage, and redistribution among the atmosphere, ocean, and land systems, and this energy’s re-radiation into space.
The many dynamic and delicate feedbacks between the biosphere and other Earth systems cause a continual co-evolution of Earth’s surface and the life that exists on it.
Water continually cycles among land, ocean, and atmosphere via transpiration, evaporation, condensation and crystallization, and precipitation, as well as downhill flows on land.
The changes of state that occur with variations in temperature or pressure can be described and predicted using these models of matter.
The amount of energy transfer needed to change the temperature of a matter sample by a given amount depends on the nature of the matter, the size of the sample, and the environment.
The complex patterns of the changes and the movement of water in the atmosphere, determined by winds, landforms, and ocean temperatures and currents, are major determinants of local weather patterns.
Global movements of water and its changes in form are propelled by sunlight and gravity.
Variations in density due to variations in temperature and salinity drive a global pattern of interconnected ocean currents.
Water’s movements—both on the land and underground—cause weathering and erosion, which change the land’s surface features and create underground formations.
The ocean exerts a major influence on weather and climate by absorbing energy from the sun, releasing it over time, and globally redistributing it through ocean currents.
Much of science deals with constructing explanations of how things change and how they remain stable.
When investigating or describing a system, the boundaries and initial conditions of the system need to be defined and their inputs and outputs analyzed and described using models.
Models (e.g., physical, mathematical, computer models) can be used to simulate systems and interactions—including energy, matter, and information flows—within and between systems at different scales.
Feedback (negative or positive) can stabilize or destabilize a system.
Models can be used to represent systems and their interactions—such as inputs, processes and outputs—and energy and matter flows within systems.
Change and rates of change can be quantified and modeled over very short or very long periods of time. Some system changes are irreversible.
Systems may interact with other systems; they may have sub-systems and be a part of larger complex systems.
Stability might be disturbed either by sudden events or gradual changes that accumulate over time.
Systems in dynamic equilibrium are stable due to a balance of feedback mechanisms.