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Do you live in an area where the weather changes a lot from season to season throughout the year? Or do you live in a place where the weather stays pretty much the same all year long? How dynamic is the weather, and how does it compare to climate? In this experiment you can use the Internet to conduct your own investigation about how climate and weather in your local area change over time.
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…
Do you ever wonder how pirates sailed the seven seas? The two most important things a pirate could have (besides a parrot and big hat) were a compass and an accurate watch. Ancient navigators didn't know about compasses, so how did they know where they were going? Could they have used the stars to know which way to go?
If you live in a humid environment, then you know that summer is not only hot, it is downright muggy. You can test the effect of humidity on temperature by measuring the temperature and humidity in your bathroom while running the shower. You can also use historical weather data to compare average seasonal temperatures in humid (e.g., Florida) and dry (e.g., Arizona) regions. How does humidity relate to temperature? Pressure? Why do humid environments tend to be coastal or tropical? How does…
Ocean currents have a huge impact on our weather. If not for the ocean currents, the global climate would be similar to an ice age. Do you live near the coast? Find out which currents are near your coastline. How do they affect your climate? Where do they come from? Do they bring colder or warmer water to your area? Are they seasonal? What do you think your area would be like without them? Every three to seven years there is a weather phenomenon called El Niño, which is caused by…
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)
Can you remember what the weather was like last week? Last year? Here's a project that looks at what the weather was like for over a hundred years. You'll use historical climate data to look at moisture conditions in regions across the continental U.S. You'll use a spreadsheet program to calculate the frequency of different moisture conditions for each region and make graphs for comparison. Which part of the country has the most frequent droughts? The most frequent periods of prolonged…
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Short (2-5 days)
Computer with Internet access and a spreadsheet program (e.g., Excel)
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…
As you move up or down in altitude or elevation, the temperature and pressure will change. This is particularly striking if you live near a mountain range. During the summer, at low altitudes you may have temperatures in the 80's or 90's and still be able to see snow on mountain peaks at high altitude. You can test the effect of altitude by comparing temperature data from weather stations at high and low altitudes. You can test the effect of elevation by making your own weather balloon and…
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…
You can find this page online at: http://www.sciencebuddies.org/science-fair-projects/search.shtml?v=solt&pi=Weather_p006
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