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Listed under:  Science  >  Earth and space  >  Earth structure  >  Earth's crust  >  Oceans  >  Ocean currents
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Patterns of El Nino and La Nina

Australia's rainfall is best described as 'unreliable'. Long periods of drought can quickly give way to extensive floods. This clip uses animations to help you understand how the El Nino and La Nina phenomena contribute to Australia's climate patterns.

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Climatic cycles in the Pacific

Australia's climate is characterised by regular cycles of flood and drought. But the same cycles also affect our near neighbours in the Pacific Ocean. In this animation the Climate Crabs take us on a journey through the Pacific Islands as we learn more about the climatic phenomena known as El Nino and La Nina.

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How ocean rips work

Watch as Adam Spencer and Dr Karl Kruszelnicki plunge into the ocean near Sydney and do battle with a major rip. Who will make it safely back to shore and who will need to be rescued by a lifesaver? Find out the best strategy to use when caught in a rip.

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Map of ocean gyres

This is a colour map showing the Earth's main ocean gyres - mounded circular currents - and the Antarctic circumpolar current. Segments of each gyre are colour-coded to show cold and warm currents.

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Surface currents in the Tasman Sea

This is a colour map of the region around the Tasman Sea showing the ocean currents that influence the climate of south-eastern Australia and New Zealand. Different colours are used to identify warm and cold currents.

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Climate and bushfires in Australia

What can science tell us about the major cause of bushfires in Australia's past? How can it help us predict future bushfires? Two scientists discuss evidence related to bushfire regimes (bushfire patterns, types and intensity). Please note that this clip contains recent images of homes destroyed by fire that may disturb ...

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Waves supply nutrients to marine ecosystems

Dive through the marine kelp forests off Australia's western coast and discover how ocean waves help cycle nutrients to sustain the plants and kelp forests of marine ecosystems.

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Drought culprit

This 12 minute video segment from Catalyst is an excellent resource for students researching how oceans influence conditions on Earth's surface. It demonstrates the advantages and disadvantages of using models in science and how our understanding is open to revision as more information comes to light.

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Declining forests of Giant Kelp

Imagine diving between giant kelp that reach more than 30 metres from the bottom of the ocean to the surface. The east coast of Tasmania is one of the few places in the world where these underwater forests exist. But how much longer will they survive? Watch this clip to find out why these magnificent ecosystems are disappearing ...

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Fighting fire with fire: the debate

How do we best protect communities from the threat of bushfire? Prescribed burning is the preferred method in many parts of Australia, but it remains controversial. This clip investigates the science behind prescribed burning. Does it save property and lives, and can it destroy ecosystems?

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Try maintaining your shell in an acidic ocean!

The shell of the tiny marine snail called the pteropod is under attack from ocean acidification. See how research into this and the Southern Ocean circulation tells us about impacts of climate change. In this clip from 2010, find out about this research and the Southern Ocean Sentinel project focused on developing an early-warning ...

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What is El Nino?

The Bureau of Meteorology has just announced that Australia has now moved from a La Niña weather pattern, to an El Niño weather pattern. But what does that mean? And what impact could it have on Australian farmers? Let's find out!

Teacher resource

The big dry - unit of work

In this unit of work students identify and examine the reasons for and the effects of drought in Australia. They examine historical patterns of drought and the global weather patterns that influence climate in Australia. Students look at the broad effects of drought on Australian society and compare different drought-management ...

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The Forerunner, 1957 - Maitland floods in 1955, item 1

This is an excerpt from a 1957 black-and-white documentary titled 'The Forerunner' that tells the story of the building of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme. The excerpt shows floodwater racing through the streets of what is probably Maitland in New South Wales and a man escaping from his car as it is washed away ...

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The Forerunner, 1957 - Maitland floods in 1955, item 2

This is an excerpt from a 1957 black-and-white documentary titled 'The Forerunner' that tells the story of the building of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme. The excerpt shows a sequence of scenes taking place in a flooded room. It begins with a kitten playing with a shoe floating just below a shelf holding cups ...

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The Forerunner, 1957 - Maitland floods in 1955, item 4

This is an excerpt from a 1957 black-and-white documentary titled 'The Forerunner' that tells the story of the building of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme. Set to poignant music, it shows damage and accumulated mud and debris resulting from the 1955 Maitland floods. One house is without an exterior wall and its ...

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The Forerunner, 1957 - Drought in the 1950s, item 1

This is an excerpt from a 1957 black-and-white documentary titled 'The Forerunner' that tells the story of the building of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme. Images of the dried remains of dead cattle on bare earth and a bridge over a dry riverbed are accompanied by a simple melody played on a guitar. An aerial ...

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Colin Johnson - Maitland Floods, 1955: Wading through the floods

This clip shows silent colour home-movie footage of Maitland in eastern New South Wales during the flood of 1955. People wade through flooded streets, the Hunter River is in full flood and water breaks through the sandbagged banks of the River.

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Colin Johnson - Maitland Floods, 1955: The muddy aftermath

This clip shows silent colour home-movie footage of the muddy aftermath of the flooding of Maitland in eastern New South Wales in February 1955. The mud in the streets, collapsed riverbanks and the resulting damage to the foundations of houses, collapsed homes and the collapsed bridge are all shown in the film.

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Why salinity and temperature are measured

This is a colour video clip in which Dr Phil Sutton, a physical oceanographer from New Zealand’s National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, details the reasons for collecting data on the temperature and salinity of the oceans. It includes sequences showing Dr Sutton at work.