The Ocean-Atmospheric Interface

Watch the video titled “Ocean Temperatures – Changing Planet” (6 min 4 sec)
under The Ocean terms section of the Science Corner. You can also view the video
at Next, describe
one (1) way that scientists use the ocean to monitor climate change. Then,
examine the overall impact of a warmer ocean on the climate.

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Watch the video titled “How Climate Change Makes Intense Hurricanes” (3 min
8 sec) under the Climate Change terms section of the Science Corner. You can
also view the video at Next, describe
the overall manner in which climate change affects hurricanes, storms, and sea
level. Then, explain the overall physical impact that this change will have on
coastal communities.

The weather condition known as El Niño is described on page 677 of your
book. After reading this section, describe the major interactions between the
atmosphere and the surface ocean water in the equatorial Pacific Ocean under
“normal” conditions. Next, describe the changes that occur in both the
atmosphere and the underlying ocean during an El Niño event.
(Note: Be sure to include the changes of atmospheric
convection, warm surface ocean water, and the cold deep ocean water in your
description. List a specific region that is impacted negatively by an El Niño


One way that scientists use the ocean to monitor climate change by using the
instrument conductivity, temperature and depth recorders known as CTD. They are
lowered in specific location to measure the temperature, salinity, carbon
dioxide levels and captures water samples. The overall impact is the increasing
temperature causes the ocean to expand and causes sea level to rise. It also
increases more storms like hurricanes.

Scientific research indicates that climate change will cause hurricanes and
tropical storms to become more intense lasting longer, unleashing stronger
winds, and causing more damage to coastal ecosystems
and communities. As sea level temperature rise developing storms will be more

Under normal conditions, upwelling cold water on the eastern side of the
Pacific coincides with dry, cool air, high pressures, and clear skies. As the
warm moist air rises, low pressures and storms develop on the warm western side
of the Pacific. In an El Nino condition, the pattern
is reversed. Warm water, rising warm moist air, low pressures, and storms are
found on the eastern side of the Pacific rather than the western side.