Support materials only that illustrate some possible contexts for exploring Science as a Human Endeavour concepts in relation to Science Understanding content.
Formal weather prediction has been practised since the nineteenth century. Accurate weather forecasting is vital to the public and private sectors, for example to provide severe weather warnings and to inform decision making in aviation and marine industries, agriculture and forestry. There is a huge demand from commercial and industrial sectors to increase the accuracy and reliability of weather forecasting over longer periods of time (ACSES040). Weather predictions are based on interpretation of changes in factors such as air and water temperature, the direction and speed of air and water currents, humidity and atmospheric pressure. Contemporary weather predictions are informed by computer models that take into account a range of atmospheric factors, but still rely on human input to determine the best forecast model and to interpret the model data into weather forecasts that are understandable to the end user (ACSES042).
The global ocean conveyor is important in regulating global climate. Advances in remote sensing with satellites have enabled scientists to develop models of the complex pathways involved and measure their characteristics (ACSES039).The global ocean conveyor is partly driven by thermohaline circulation, the movement of water due to density changes resulting from temperature or salinity. The places where these deepwater currents are created are believed to compose less than 1% of the ocean’s surface area. Analysis of geological evidence indicates that when these vulnerable areas are disrupted, the global ocean conveyor can be “shut down” and the world’s climate can be drastically altered in just a few years. Some scientists predict that melting of the Greenland ice sheet could influence the global ocean conveyor, causing changes in global climate (ACSES043).