7.6 Raising Scientific Literacy through the New and Improved AMS Ocean Studies

Wednesday, 10 January 2018: 11:45 AM
Ballroom C (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Wendy Abshire, American Meteorological Society, Washington, D.C.; and E. W. Mills, D. A. Segar, S. W. Kish, I. W. Geer, K. A. Nugnes, and K. L. O'Neill

This year’s Annual Meeting theme highlights the relationship between effective communication and action. The AMS Education Program believes that education is key to this relationship and to addressing society’s most pressing needs. That’s why the AMS Education Program has been working to raise public scientific literacy for more than 25 years.

One of the ways in which the AMS contributes to the communication of scientific concepts and the public’s understanding of Earth science is through creation of AMS Weather, Ocean, and Climate Studies. These introductory, undergraduate-level curriculum packages are offered at hundreds of institutions nationwide and focus on the use of real-world and near real-time Earth science data, including the wealth of products and emergent science from NOAA. Course materials are also a key part of AMS K-12 teacher professional development courses conducted in partnership with NOAA.

AMS Ocean Studies explores the fundamental properties of the ocean and human interaction with it. According to the AMS Ocean Paradigm, “Humans rely on the ocean for food, livelihood, commerce, natural resources, security, and dispersal of waste. Humankind’s intimate relationship with the ocean calls for continued scientific assessment, prediction, and stewardship to achieve and maintain environmental quality and sustainability.” As a primary player in Earth’s climate system, greater understanding of the ocean is necessary if we are to protect this vital resource.

Recently, Ocean Studies: Introduction to Oceanography, the textbook component of AMS Ocean Studies, underwent a thorough revision with significant contributions from co-authors/oceanographers Doug Segar and Stacy Kish. An introductory chapter was added, figures were significantly upgraded, and content was greatly updated to be consistent with recent scientific findings. Specifically, the impacts on the ocean from climate change, various air-sea interactions, coastal processes, and marine life content were substantially revised. In addition, dynamic web-based features such as Topic in Depths (TIDs) were added. TIDs allow users to explore concepts or new research that expand the chapter narrative or illustrate concepts in video form. These topics can be accessed by a touch or click and since they only open if the user wishes, they do not distract from the flow of the chapter. Other features include a hyperlinked table of contents and the ability to highlight, take notes, and search for content.

This textbook along with those for AMS Weather and Climate Studies are available in digital formats either as a webBook, which can be read online but requires Internet access, or an ePub, which must be downloaded and opened via an ePub Reader. The associated lab manuals are also available in webBook and ePub formats. An online pdf option is currently being tested for future use.

The AMS Education Program is eager to continue working to raise public scientific literacy through dynamic educational materials that use real-world data to encourage additional exploration of the sciences.

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