Education: Water Cycle Processes and the Ocean

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Explain how the processes of the water cycle (e.g., evaporation, precipitation) relate to the ocean (NSES,160; OLS,5)
Describe the connections between the salt water found in the ocean and the fresh water in the water cycle (NSES,160; NAAEE,12,16; OLS,10)
Water Cycle Poster for Kids (English) | Spanish
Aquarius/SAC-D Pre-Launch Wall Poster (English) | Spanish
How Do Water Cycle Processes Relate to the Ocean?
Earth's water cycle is dominated by ocean-atmosphere exchanges: globally, 86% of evaporation and 78% of precipitation occur over the ocean. Ocean surface salinity is a key tracer for understanding the freshwater fluxes into and out of the ocean system. This is because some parts of the water cycle decrease salinity (e.g., precipitation, groundwater flow to the ocean, river runoff) and some parts increase it (e.g., evaporation and freezing of seawater). With Aquarius data, scientists are able to relate salinity variations to evaporation and precipitation, providing insight into how the ocean responds to seasonal and annual changes in the water cycle.

Featured Movie: Aquarius and the Water Cycle

Hands-On Activities
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