Planetary Heat Pumps (European Space Agency)

Planetary Heat Pumps (European Space Agency)
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The sea is incredibly good at storing heat. So good, that just the top three metres of the ocean contain as much heat as the entire atmosphere. The ocean’s ability to accumulate, transport and slowly release the energy it receives from the Sun makes it one of the key regulators of weather and climate on our planet, and a more stable indicator of climate trends than the more-rapidly changing atmosphere.

This printable pack contains three ready-to-use activities suitable for use in school, with youth groups or at home:
– An introduction to the role of the ocean in transferring energy around the planet linked to calculations of likely temperature increases.
– A practical activity to demonstrate how layers of water form in the ocean. This can be extended to a more open-ended investigation.
– Using real climate data to investigate the Gulf Stream.

This is one of a range of packs produced by the ESA Climate Office and available from
Further ESA resources for teaching about climate can be found at

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