Coastwatch: Ocean Observing

Ocean Observing

Article in Coastwatch - Teacher Study Questions - Web Resources

Keeping watch over the health of North Carolina’s coastal waters is a tremendous job that requires continuous monitoring. In the third installment of Coastwatch on North Carolina Now, producer Heather Burgiss explores two programs that utilize unique ways to sample and monitor water quality and research weather events. This monitoring also provides real time data for use in the classroom to teachers and students across North Carolina.

In Ocean Observing you’ll learn about Ferry Mon, the state’s ferry-based water quality monitoring program. North Carolina is one of the first state’s to use ferries as “ships of opportunity” for research. You’ll hear from Ferry Mon Director and Kenan Professor of Marine and Environmental Sciences at UNC-Chapel Hill Hans Paerl about the sophisticated oceanographic instruments on the ferries and the importance of monitoring water quality on the Pamlico Sound and the Outer Banks.

The series continues to North Carolina’s southern coast in Wilmington as Coastwatch explores buoys used to monitor the ocean. Learn how CORMP, which stands for the Coastal Ocean Research and Monitoring Program based at UNC-Wilmington works to provide information for research and evaluation and data for the internet. Many federal agencies like NOAA and the National Weather Service will use the information to create forecasting reports.

Curriculum Alignment for North Carolina Standard Course of Study (8th Grade Science) - The segment Ocean Observing is aligned to NCSCS's 8th grade science curriculum in the following areas:

  • 1.01 – Identify and create questions and hypotheses that can be answered through scientific investigations.
  • 1.05 – Analyze evidence to:  explain observations, and make inferences and predictions.
  • 1.06 – Use math to gather, organize, and present quantitative data: analysis of data and prediction models. 
  • 1.09 – Use technologies and information systems to research, gather and analyze data, and visualize data.
  • 2.02 – Use information systems to identify scientific needs, human needs, or problems that are subject to technological solutions.
  • 3.03 – Evaluate evidence that Earth’s oceans are a reservoir of nutrients, minerals, dissolved gases, and life forms.
  • 3.04 – Describe how terrestrial and aquatic food webs are interconnected.
  • 3.05 – Analyze hydrospheric data over time to predict the health of a water system including:  temperature, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity.
  • 3.06 – Evaluate technologies and information systems used to monitor the hydrosphere.
  • 3.07 – Describe how humans affect the quality of water:  point and non-point sources of water pollution, possible effects of excess nutrients, and economic trade-offs.
  • 3.08 – Recognize that the good health of environments and organisms requires:  monitoring the hydrosphere, water quality standards, maintaining safe water quality, and stewardship.