Water Cycle

Big River: A King Corn Companion | Agricultural Runoff and the Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone

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Learn how agricultural runoff from the Midwest has contributed to a massive "dead zone" in the Gulf of Mexico, in this video segment adapted from the independent film Big River: A King Corn Companion. A cornfield treated with conventional chemical fertilizer promises a bumper crop, but chemical runoff from the farm enters the Iowa River, eventually draining into the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. In the Gulf, these dissolved nutrients allow algae to flourish. The algae's decay depletes the water of oxygen, creating a dead zone where shrimp and fish are starved of oxygen and die.

Biome in a Baggie

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The distribution of plants and animals around the world corresponds closely to global patterns of temperature and rainfall. This is why two forests half a world away from each other will often have very similar organisms living in them. In this ZOOMSci video segment, a cast member of ZOOM creates a self-contained biome and explores evaporation, condensation and precipitation.

Air Pressure and Storms

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Join Rick Crosslin host of Indiana Expeditions as he learns about air pressure and how storms form.

Solar Still, Part I: Salt Water

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The water cycle is the process that moves water around Earth. In this video segment adapted from ZOOM, cast members use a homemade solar still to mimic this natural process, separating pure water from a saltwater mixture.

Water Vapor Fuels Hurricanes

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In this video excerpt from NOVA: “Earth From Space,” data visualizations show what water vapor evaporating from the ocean's surface might look like if you could see it. Aqua, a NASA satellite, uses infrared wavelengths to monitor the oceans and the production of water vapor. The Sun's heat warms ocean water and creates water vapor through the process of evaporation. When water vapor condenses in the atmosphere, it releases heat that helps to fuel storms. Simulations show large cloud formations developing into a powerful hurricane that can impact life on Earth.

This video is available in both English and Spanish audio, along with corresponding closed captions.

Why Do Clouds Stay Up? | It's Okay to Be Smart

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There's nothing wrong with having your head in the clouds

Big River: A King Corn Companion | Farm Nitrates in the Water Supply

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Learn how farm runoff impacts water quality and human health. Tour the water treatment plant in Des Moines, Iowa, and learn how the water is filtered, in this video excerpted from the independent film Big River: A King Corn Companion. Hear how high nitrate content in water can affect human health, causing such problems as blue baby syndrome, and understand why water treatment plants in agricultural regions need nitrate removal facilities because of the pollution from fertilizer runoff.

Climate Change Around the World (Episode 7)

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This Utah Education Network segment demonstrates the global effects of climate change. As the Earth warms, the atmosphere abosorbs more energy and moisture, which drives extreme weather, such as heat waves, heavy rain, hurricanes, and drought.

Groundwater Beneath the Surface

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This lighthearted animation takes us beneath the surface to see groundwater in action. Watch anthropomorphized drops of groundwater travel through this system. A smiling character with a shovel digs us down to the water table, allowing us to flow through the water cycle and thus making the process much easier to understand.

What Causes the Gulf Stream?

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Even with the waves lapping at their feet, few people consider ocean currents and their importance to global climate. Although the Gulf Stream cannot be seen flowing by off North America's East Coast, in Western Europe, the current's warming effect is undeniable. This video segment adapted from NOVA uses satellite imagery to illustrate the Gulf Stream's path and animations to explain how atmospheric phenomena cause it to move.

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