The Greening of Spring
Oceans and Climate
the Journey North tulip garden locations each year helps us to make better
predictions about spring’s arrival. Often we start out thinking
that the Earth will warm from the Equator upward as the calendar approaches
the summer months. As we learn more about the affects that oceans and
landmasses have on climate we begin to see spring’s arrival with
Gardens near 60° Latitude
the Fall of 2003 we welcomed 2 gardens planted near 60 N latitude. Although
planted at about the same latitude, these 2 gardens were on separate continents.
Use your atlas to find both locations. Study their position on the landmass,
nearby bodies of water, and the surrounding topography. This
map shows the locations of the gardens at the Haines High School in Haines,
Alaska (59,-135) and the Mikela School in Espoo, Finland (60, 21).
Currents and The Greening of Spring
Which garden will be the first to emerge
in the spring?
What kinds of information will help you make an accurate prediction?
Both of these planting sites are on or very near bodies of water. Haines,
Alaska is just interior from the Gulf of Alaska and Espoo, Finland is
on an inlet of the Baltic Sea. The nearby ocean currents will probably
affect the climate, and spring's arrival in both places.
We know that warm currents bring higher temperatures in winter and cold
currents bring lower temperatures in summer. In the Atlantic the Gulf
Stream transports massive amounts of water, but it also moves tremendous
amounts of heat from the tropics into the temperate latitudes. It is responsible
for the formation of tropical coral reefs as far north as Bermuda and
for keeping western Europe mild and ice-free. There are major currents
in the Pacific bring their warm waters up along the North American coast.
All these major currents have many branch and feeder currents that help
to constantly circulate ocean water of differing temperatures.
map above. Does it help you see how warmer waters move and circulate in
our large oceans and seas? Can you use this information to predict which
of the 60 N gardens will bloom first?
the maps and your atlas to come up with YOUR prediction. Which garden
will emerge first? List the factors that you found to make your prediction.
- Do you
think that ocean currents affect these planting sites? Explain your
tuned to see whether your predictions are correct!
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