Movie: Global Circulation

Contributor
Community Climate System Model (CCSM) and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR).
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Animation/Movie , Phenomenon
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

This five-minute movie on global circulation created by the Community Climate System Model and the National Center for Atmospheric Research shows global atmospheric circulation based on hourly data for one calendar year. Cloud cover and precipitation are shown as they move through Earth's atmosphere. Students can track weather patterns, such as winter storms in North America, the monsoon season in Asia, afternoon showers in the Amazon basin, and hurricane formation and decay.

This resource can be used either as a phenomena to engage students at the beginning of a lesson or as a formative assessment of student understanding.

It could stimulate the following driving questions:

  • What patterns do you see near the equator?

  • What patterns do you see above 30 degrees north or below 30 degrees south of the equator? How are they related?

  • How do patterns differ over land compared to water?

  • What events do you see occuring in your area based on the seasons?

 

Intended Audience

Educator
Educational Level
  • Grade 8
  • Grade 7
  • Grade 6
  • Middle School
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

MS-ESS2-6 Develop and use a model to describe how unequal heating and rotation of the Earth cause patterns of atmospheric and oceanic circulation that determine regional climates.

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on how patterns vary by latitude, altitude, and geographic land distribution. Emphasis of atmospheric circulation is on the sunlight-driven latitudinal banding, the Coriolis effect, and resulting prevailing winds; emphasis of ocean circulation is on the transfer of heat by the global ocean convection cycle, which is constrained by the Coriolis effect and the outlines of continents. Examples of models can be diagrams, maps and globes, or digital representations

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include the dynamics of the Coriolis effect.

This resource was not designed to build towards this performance expectation, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Students could use the model of global circulation to investigate how weather patterns move in various parts of the world. The teacher could use the following questions to help students generalize information about how unequal heating and rotation of the Earth generates regional differences in weather and climate patterns. How do the storm patterns vary by latitude? What patterns do you see near the equator? What patterns do you see above or below 30 degrees north and south of the equator? How is that related to the heating of Earth’s atmosphere? How does the pattern of storms relate to convection? Describe how patterns differ over land compared to water. What events do you see occurring in your area based on the time of the year they occur? Additional resources such as http://bio1151b.nicerweb.net/Locked/media/ch50/50_10WindPatterns.jpg can illustrate how trade winds move towards the west on both sides of the equator and westerlies move eastward above and below 30 degrees and may be used to explain the patterns visible in the movie. The teacher may also want to use this curated resource on the ocean’s impact on climate - http://ngss.nsta.org/Curator/ViewResource.aspx?ResourceID=251.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource was not designed to build towards this science and engineering practice, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
By studying the video, students analyze and interpret data presented to provide evidence for global and regional weather phenomena. The teacher will need to provide the driving questions listed above and direct them to watch specific locations during the video to determine the global patterns. Students could work in pairs or small groups on computers so they can control the video display and focus on specific regions and times of the year.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource was not designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
By watching the video carefully, students will see patterns of movement of water in the atmosphere. Class discussion of these patterns and the introduction of other information, as described in the Performance Expectation section, will assist students to see the complex patterns of air movement. They can begin to make claims about landforms as major determinants of local weather patterns.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource was not designed to build towards this crosscutting concept, but can be used to build towards it using the suggestions provided below.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Students watch the movie to identify patterns in data by choosing a part of the globe to focus on. The teacher could first ask students to list or draw patterns they see on blank maps as they watch the video, then share their observations in a class discussion. Students could identify patterns such as the trade winds, the westerlies and the impact of land and water surfaces on the wind patterns. The teacher could provide information about why these patterns occur using some of the resources mentioned in the Performance Expectation section.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: - none -

  • Instructional Supports: - none -

  • Monitoring Student Progress: - none -

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: This activity requires access to the Internet to play the movie. No interactivity with technology is required.