In this climate education module, students will gain an understanding of the term “storm surge” by exploring the meteorological principles that create storms and generate storm surges. Many basics of weather are discussed, including air pressure, air circulation, and the influence of the Coriolis effect on weather.

Table of  Contents          

Full Lesson Plan


Activity 1 – Oceans of Pressure

Activity 2 – Windy Balloon

Activity 3- Density Driven Currents

Activity 4 – The Coriolis Effect

Activity 5 – Pressure Driven Storms and Surge

Activity 6 – Surge of the Storm

How Meteorologists’ Measure and Predict Storm Surge

Why Should You Care about Understanding Storm Surge?

Storm Surge Watches and Warnings

NOAA’s Top Ten Tips for Being Ready for a Storm Surge

References and Acknowledgements


Following completion of this module, students will be able to:

  • Define storm surge and the factors that influence it
  • Learn how temperature affects air density and the formation of high and low pressure systems in the atmosphere
  • Explore the effect of gravity on air in the atmosphere
  • Discover the role of Earth’s rotation on global and localized wind patterns
  • Examine the effects that air pressure has on storm surge levels
  • Determine how storm surge affects coastal communities
  • Explore the impact of shoreline shape and beach slope on storm surge

GRADE LEVEL                              

5 – 12

NGSS PE’s             

MS- ESS2-2, MS-ESS 2-4, MS-ESS 2-5, MS-ESS 2-6, MS- ESS 3-2, HS- ESS2-5,  HS-ESS3-5.