Penn State NASA

Goals and Learning Outcomes


Goals and Learning Outcomes


On completing this module, students are expected to be able to:

  • describe surface and deep ocean properties;
  • explain how surface and deep ocean circulation work;
  • illustrate how ocean circulation affects weather and climate;
  • predict changes in key ocean parameters and circulation patterns as a result of climate change;
  • interpret deep sea circulation patterns from water column properties.

Learning Outcomes

After completing this module, students should be able to answer the following questions:

  • What is the warmest temperature in the oceans today?
  • What is the coldest temperature in the oceans today?
  • What factors impact salinity of surface ocean waters?
  • What is primary productivity and what controls it?
  • What factors control dissolved oxygen contents of ocean waters?
  • What factors control dissolved CO2 contents of ocean waters?
  • What drives surface ocean circulation?
  • What are the Coriolis effect, gyres, upwelling and downwelling?
  • How do deep water masses form?
  • What are the major deep water masses in the oceans and their properties?
  • What is the significance of the Global Conveyor Belt, deep water aging, properties of the oldest waters in the ocean?
  • What is ENSO?
  • What are the impacts of ENSO on global weather patterns?