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Predicting the Weather

Difficulty
Time Required Average (6-10 days)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability Readily available
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety No issues

Abstract

Here's a good way to get yourself on TV! This science fair project will help you learn how to predict the weather. So who knows, maybe you'll be more accurate than your local meteorologist. You just might get hired! (Someday.)

Objective

The objective of this experiment is to find the most accurate way to predict the weather without using advanced technology, like satellites and computers. The two methods compared are the scientific (using homemade instruments) and the traditional (using observations of nature) methods.

Cite This Page

MLA Style

Science Buddies Staff. "Predicting the Weather" Science Buddies. Science Buddies, 15 Oct. 2014. Web. 23 Oct. 2014 <http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Weather_p001.shtml>

APA Style

Science Buddies Staff. (2014, October 15). Predicting the Weather. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/project_ideas/Weather_p001.shtml

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Last edit date: 2014-10-15

Introduction

Weather Science Project kite
Figure 1. Kite for meteorological observations.
Watch DragonflyTV forecasting video Click here to watch a video of this investigation, produced by DragonflyTV and presented by pbskidsgo.org

Predicting the weather has become a science in itself. Through the use of satellite images and a variety of data-collection tools, we can now develop fairly accurate predictions of our weather patterns. Before the development of these more-advanced techniques, people used basic tools and/or stories and sayings to capture nature's signals of changes in weather, such as:

  • Bad weather is coming when the cows lie down.
  • Good weather is coming when the bees are busier than usual.
  • Bad weather is coming when your bones or joints ache.

If you want to see how well this and other folklore predicts the weather, join Mari and Lindsay in the DragonflyTV video as they watch the sky, make a homemade barometer, and put cows, bees, bones, and hair to the test for nine days, to see if natural signals can tell you what the weather is going to be like the next day. Which is more effective as a tool for prediction: our homemade instruments or nature's indicators?

Terms and Concepts

In order to properly conduct this science fair project, you will need to learn the basics about weather. What is weather and what are the major factors that cause our weather to change?

Some key terms to understand:

  • Atmospheric pressure (also known as barometric pressure)
  • Relative humidity
  • Dew point
  • Air temperature and how it varies relative to atmospheric pressure
  • Wind speed
Since you will also be constructing some homemade instruments to help you capture data, you will need to understand how each of the following instruments works:
  • Hygrometer
  • Barometer
  • Weather vane

Bibliography

Basics of weather: >Glossary of weather terms: Some sites that discuss weather lore: How to build your own weather instruments:

Materials and Equipment

  • Homemade weather instruments (see links above for specific instructions and materials required to build each of these instruments):
    • Barometer
    • Hygrometer
    • Weather Vane
  • Weather Lore:
    • To measure general weather observe: "Red sky at night, sailor's delight; Red sky in morning, sailor take warning."
    • To measure humidity observe: "A ring around the moon or sun, and rain approaches on the run."
    • To measure barometric pressure observe: "Sea gull, sea gull, sit on the sand, It's never good weather while you're on the land."
    • To measure wind direction observe: blowing smoke or leaves.
  • Weather data chart
  • Pen

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Experimental Procedure

For the scientific method:
  • Build each of the instruments you will use to capture your weather data.
  • Collect data in your weather data chart twice daily (morning and evening).
  • Based on the collected data, make morning and evening predictions about the oncoming weather and record these in our weather data chart.
  • Compare each of your predictions to the control.
For the traditional (weather lore) technique:
  • Observe "nature's signals" and collect data in your weather data chart twice daily (morning and evening).
  • Based on the collected data, make morning and evening predictions about the oncoming weather and record these in our weather data chart.
  • Compare each of your predictions to the control.
Control:
  • Use the weather prediction in your local paper (or an online source, such as Unisys Weather, listed in the Bibliography) as the control and compare each of your predictions to the local paper. Make sure that you make your own predictions before reading the paper! ;-)

Share your story with Science Buddies!

I did this project I Did This Project! Please log in and let us know how things went.


Share your story with Science Buddies!

I did this project I Did This Project! Please log in and let us know how things went.

Ask an Expert

The Ask an Expert Forum is intended to be a place where students can go to find answers to science questions that they have been unable to find using other resources. If you have specific questions about your science fair project or science fair, our team of volunteer scientists can help. Our Experts won't do the work for you, but they will make suggestions, offer guidance, and help you troubleshoot.

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