Education: Planning and Carrying Out Investigations

Planning and Carrying Out Investigations Scientists and engineers plan and carry out investigations in the field or laboratory, working collaboratively as well as individually. Their investigations are systematic and require clarifying what counts as data and identifying variables or parameters. Click on the icons (below right) to view other standards.
   Asking Questions and Defining Problems Developing and Using Models Planning and Carrying Out Investigations Analyzing and Interpreting Data Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions Engaging in Argument from Evidence Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information

Sea surface salinity research has come a long way, initially being measured from ships and more recently with autonomous floats such as wave gliders and Argo. Beginning in the mid 1970s, satellites were launched into space to measure various oceanographic processes.
Measuring water depth from the International Space Station

In this clip, Dr. Eric Lindstrom gives viewers a comparison between early seagoing vessels and earth-observing satellites.
Mooring deployment

Dr. Tom Farrar dicusses how scientists design surface moorings to stay in one place in the middle of the ocean while simultaneously collecting data for up to one year at a time.
Earth observing satellites

Dr. Eric Lindstrom makes the case that oceanography is inherently an international endeavor and that satellite operations are no different in this introduction to the fleet of earth observing satellites currently orbiting our planet.
Map of thermohaline circulation

Dr. Susan Lozier explains how changes in ocean circulation are the result of not only changes in seawater density, but also the amount of wind blowing on the surface of the ocean to push the water around.
Data swaths using the Aquarius instrument

In this clip, Dr. Gary Lagerloef discusses how scientists were able to increase the accuracy of the Aquarius satellite through adequate sampling and broader spatial coverage.

Dr. Tom Farrar explains what scientists mean when they talk about ocean salinity and defines the associated values.
SPURS glider survey

Dr. Fred Bingham introduces viewers to an at-sea glider system, including their importance and function in modern oceanographic research.
Argo float locations (October 2012)

Introduction to Argo (00:03:46)  
An introduction to the Argo float program, a worldwide network of profiling floats taking measurements in the world's oceans.
Ablation of paint on a mixed-layer Lagrangian float

Dr. Fred Bingham describes how a new type of float - called a Lagrangian float - is used for at-sea salinty research.

There are surface drifters and wave gliders, so what constitutes a seaglider? Dr. Fred Bingham tells us in this clip, and shares how these drifters helped researchers to better understand the SPURS region.
Vessels, drifters and floats

An introduction to the types of in-situ instrumentation used during a research cruise to the mid-Atlantic, including surface drifters.
Deployment of a surface flux mooring

During SPURS, three research moorings were deployed. In combination, these three stationary platforms collected data in the SPURS region, an area in the northern mid-Atlantic, playing a key role in understanding the high salinity area.
Soil moisture and ocean salinity (SMOS) satellite

Drs. David Le Vine and Gary Lagerloef explain how remote sensing has evolved throughout the past few decades, focusing specifically on ocean salinity research in the 2000s.
Surface drifter

As part of the SPURS study, 40 surface drifters were deployed to measure salinity and other variables. Dr. Fred Bingham explains their ability to move through the ocean autonomously, and what information that they can provide researchers.
Global sea surface salinity

Collecting data has many challenges, whether it is in the ocean, or the vast and hostile environment of space. Dr. Eric Lindstrom addresses some of the challenges of collecting good data in difficult conditions.
Aquarius instrument at Vandenberg Air Force Base

In this clip, Dr. Eric Lindstrom walks us through the inner workings of the Aquarius/SAC-D satellite, whose current mission is to measure global ocean salinity from space.
International space station

Dr. Eric Lindstrom talks about the connection between ocean-going vessels and ocean-observing satellites and how both are vital in learning more about how ocean circulation works and affects our planet.
Wave glider deployed from the R/V Knorr

What Are Wave Gliders? (00:03:43)  
In this clip, Dr. Fred Bingham gives an overview of the various components aboard a wave glider.
SPURS sampling schematic

The process of studying the ocean has changed dramatically since the first ocean explorers set out on ships. Dr. Eric Lindstrom explains that modern-day oceanographers are using new technology to create a "sensor web" to study ocean interactions - changing the face of oceanography.
Flux buoy locations

Surface moorings collect continuous data from a single point in the ocean. Dr. Tom Farrar explains the types of instrumentation often found atop one of these moorings.