Chapter 5: Section 3 - How Do Plate Tectonics and Ocean Currents Affect Climate?

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In this section you will find materials that support the implementation of EarthComm, Section 3: How Do Plate Tectonics and Ocean Currents Affect Climate?.

Learning Outcomes

  • Use models to explain how ocean currents are affected by Earth’s moving plates.
  • Analyze and interpret data on a world map that shows ocean surface currents to explain the effect of ocean currents on regional and global climate.

Inquiring Further

  1. To learn more about the flow of North Atlantic Deep Water, visit the following web sites:

    Lamont's Broecker Warns Gases Could Alter Climate: Oceans' Circulation Could Collapse, Columbia University
    Provides useful information on the importance of the NADW and its relationship to other systems.

    Ocean Circulation Shut Down by Melting Glaciers After Last Ice Age, NASA
    Provides basic information on the North Atlantic Ocean Circulation System as well as the effect of the last ice age on this system.

Major Deep Water Masses, Penn State
Describes the driving forces behind the movement of Earth's major deep ocean currents.


To learn more about this topic, visit the following web sites:

How Ocean Currents Affect Climate

How the Oceans Influence Climate, The Global Development Research Center
Looks at the influence of ocean circulation on climate.

Ocean Currents and Climate, USC
Learn more about the different oceanic currents and the role those currents play on climate change.

How Plate Tectonics Affect Global Climate

Climate Changing Power of Plate Tectonics, Scientific American
Learn more about how moving continents have drastically changed Earth's climate.

Plate Tectonics and Climate Change, Open University
Looks at how plate tectonics affects important processes like the formation of mountains and the direction of ocean currents.

Climate Change - Plate Tectonics, Lyndon State College
Looks at how plate tectonics affect climate change.