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…
The sustainability of our ocean fisheries is a topic of concern for many, including environmentalists and fishermen who make their living on the bounty of the sea. It is important to use sustainable fishing practices so that our fisheries are not over-fished leading to a decline in productivity. Some states require fish markets to post information about their fish so that consumers can make informed decisions about which fish to buy. They post the type of fish (e.g., Coho Salmon), the source of…
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)
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…
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…
Did you know that there is plastic in the ocean? It probably isn't too hard to imagine that some of the plastic that litters roadways, sidewalks, and parks finds its way into the ocean. So, how much do you think is in there? Hundreds of pounds of plastic? How about thousands of pounds? No one knows for sure, but estimates, based on scientific surveys, suggest the amount is in the range of millions of pounds of plastic! Of course, the ocean is big, over 300 million square kilometers, so…
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Average (6-10 days)
To do this science project you will need access to an urban or suburban community. Rural communities may not be suitable for this project as they are unlikely to have a stormwater drainage system.
See the Materials and Equipment list for details.
Low ($20 - $50)
Use caution when using the utility knife. Adult supervision is recommended.
The Sun is the ultimate source of the energy that powers weather systems on Earth. Geomagnetic storms are sun-powered storms in the upper atmosphere, arising from energized particles that are periodically ejected by the Sun. Among other effects, geomagnetic storms can wreak havoc with earth-orbiting satellites, and disrupt satellite communications. The global positioning system (GPS) is a network of 24 earth-orbiting satellites that constantly sends radio signals through the earth's…
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Very Long (1+ months)
You will need access to a WAAS-capable GPS receiver for this project. You will need to understand how to operate the GPS receiver. Note that WAAS signals are only available in North America.
How does temperature change as barometric pressure changes? You can make a device to test this using a barometer and a thermometer on your stovetop. You can collect your own weather data from a barometer and thermometer over a period of a week or month. You can also use data from a weather station to plot the relationship between barometric pressure and temperature. Does the pressure change as humidity changes? Measure the pressure in a humid and non-humid environment (like your bathroom…
Temperature also changes with latitude. As you move away from the equator, the temperature tends to decrease. Test this by comparing weather data from weather stations at different latitudes. (FI, 2006; GLOBE, 2006; NCAR, 2006; NOAA, 2006; Unisys, 2006; Weather Underground, 2006; WMO, 2006)
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