Many continents contain large mountain ranges that divide the continent into different regions. In the U.S. the Rocky Mountains mark the continental divide. The presence of a large mountain range can have a big effect on seasonal weather patterns. Also, the weather and climate on one side of a mountain range may be very different from weather and climate on the other side of the range. In the case of the Rocky Mountains, the western slope and eastern slope each have very different climates…
Tornadoes are a very destructive weather phenomenon that is very hard to predict. Certain weather conditions can indicate if a tornado is likely to occur, but the path that the tornado will take is completely unpredictable. Storm chasers are people who chase tornadoes and try to capture them on film or video. They often have a sense of predicting where and when a tornado will strike, but the best images are also due to a bit of luck and survival instinct. Even though tornadoes are…
Ocean currents have a profound effect on the climates of the continents, especially those regions bordering on the ocean. The Gulf Stream makes northwest Europe much more temperate than any other region at the same latitude, and the California Current keeps Hawaii cooler than other land masses at the same latitude. In this ocean science fair project, you will model the behavior of these "rivers" of hot and cold water within the ocean to find out how temperature affects the currents' velocity.
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Short (2-5 days)
Very Low (under $20)
Adult supervision is required. Use caution when working with the lighter or matches.
Floods can be very destructive, capable of leveling whole towns and decimating crops and fields. Typically in regions prone to flooding there are cycles of flooding that occur, usually in areas where a wet season comes after a period of drought. You can use precipitation data to test if incidents of flooding have been preceded by periods of drought. Look for long periods of dryness in the precipitation data to indicate a drought. You can also conduct an experiment on dry or moist soil to see…
In this project you can use archived satellite tracking data to learn about activity patterns of harbor porpoises. How far do they travel? Can you find patterns in the routes individual animals take? Can you correlate their route with environmental factors such as currents or ocean temperatures? If you're interested in marine mammals, this might be a good project for you.
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Average (6-10 days)
Understanding of latitude and longitude, reading maps; Longer project times if monitoring currently tagged animals.
Harmful algal blooms occur when algae, which form the base of the ocean food web, grow in massive numbers and produce toxic or harmful effects on people, fish, shellfish, marine mammals, and birds. In this project you will learn how to use archived data from continuous monitoring stations on the Chesapeake Bay to study how water quality measurements (dissolved oxygen (DO), salinity, temperature, pH, turbidity, and total chlorophyll) change before, during, and after harmful algal blooms.
Wind can make a cold day colder, or a hot day more pleasant. Use weather data to test the effect of wind on the temperature. How much of a change on the perceived temperature can the wind make? How is wind shear calculated? How can a wind barrier, like a wind breaker, keep you warm even if there is no insulating material? Build an instrument to measure wind speed or direction. (FI, 2006; GLOBE, 2006; NCAR, 2006; NOAA, 2006; Unisys, 2006; Weather Underground, 2006; WMO, 2006)
The ozone layer is important for blocking most of the harmful radiation that comes from the sun. You can find maps of the ozone layer and compare different regions of the globe for ozone coverage. Where are the problem areas? Is there a difference in ozone coverage between different hemispheres? Between populated and un-populated areas? In atmospheric regions over land masses or over bodies of water? Some scientists think that aerosols in the air are breaking down the ozone layer. You can do…
What are cold fronts and warm fronts? What happens when a cold front meets a warm front? You can test this using different temperatures of water. Use food coloring to label the cold and hot water, then carefully combine the two liquids together. What happens? How do they mix? You can also fill water balloons with hot or cold water, and then float in a hot or cold water bath. How does temperature affect the movements of the balloon? You can do similar experiments with hot and cold air in…
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