Predicting the Weather *
|Areas of Science||
Weather & Atmosphere
|Time Required||Average (6-10 days)|
|Material Availability||Readily available|
|Cost||Low ($20 - $50)|
Before you head for school for the day, you might check the weather to see whether or not you need to wear a jacket or bring an umbrella. It is pretty easy for you to check the TV or internet to see what the weather will be like today, tomorrow, or even next week. The modern-day science of meteorology, or studying and predicting the weather, has many advanced tools at its disposal that make it easy for you to get this information.
How did people predict the weather before the invention of radar, satellites, and computers? Predicting the weather could be a life-or-death situation for sailors braving long ocean voyages, or farmers planting crops that they needed for the year. Before modern times, many people would use simple homemade devices or signs observed in nature to predict the weather. Have you ever seen a weather vane on top of a barn, pointing in the direction the wind is blowing? What about hearing a saying like "red sky at night, sailor's delight; red sky at morning, sailors take warning," or if that if cows are laying down in their fields, rain is coming? Is there any real science behind these sayings, or are they just myths?
Do an experiment to find out, by comparing three different methods of predicting the weather:
- Use homemade measurement instruments, like a hygrometer, barometer, and weather vane. You will need to do research on what these instruments are, and how to build them yourself.
- Use observations from nature, like the ones mentioned above. Old sayings may vary depending on where you live — ask some adults in your area, or do research on line to look up more of them.
- As a control, use a professional forecast from a TV station or weather website.
For a period of a week or more, use each of the three techniques to predict the next day's weather. The following day, record the actual weather. Which techniques are the most accurate at predicting the weather? Which are the worst?
If you need help getting started with your research for this project, see the references in the Bibliography.
Cite This PageGeneral citation information is provided here. Be sure to check the formatting, including capitalization, for the method you are using and update your citation, as needed.
Last edit date: 2018-01-27
- TPT. (2006). Forecasting by Mari and Lindsey. DragonflyTV, Twin Cities Public Television. Retrieved January 22, 2018, from https://www-tc.pbskids.org/dragonflytv/pdf/WackyWeather.pdf
- n.d. (2014, October 2). Is "Red sky at night, sailor's delight, Red sky in morning, sailor's warning" true? Everyday Mysteries. Library of Congress. Retrieved March 4, 2015 from http://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/weather-sailor.html
- n.d. (n.d.). Make Your Own Barometer. The Franklin Institute. Retrieved March 4, 2015 from http://learn.fi.edu/weather/todo/barometer.html
- n.d. (n.d.). Make Your Own Hygrometer. The Franklin Institute. Retrieved March 4, 2015 from http://learn.fi.edu/weather/todo/hygrometer.html
News Feed on This Topic
Ask an ExpertThe 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.
Ask an Expert
If you like this project, you might enjoy exploring these related careers:
MeteorologistThe atmosphere is a blanket of gases, surrounding Earth, that creates our weather. Meteorologists study the measurements and motion of the atmosphere, and changing events within it, so that they can predict the weather. This weather forecasting helps the general public and people who work in industries such as shipping, air transportation, agriculture, fishing, forestry, and water and power better plan for the weather, and reduce human and economic losses. Read more
Mechanical EngineerMechanical engineers are part of your everyday life, designing the spoon you used to eat your breakfast, your breakfast's packaging, the flip-top cap on your toothpaste tube, the zipper on your jacket, the car, bike, or bus you took to school, the chair you sat in, the door handle you grasped and the hinges it opened on, and the ballpoint pen you used to take your test. Virtually every object that you see around you has passed through the hands of a mechanical engineer. Consequently, their skills are in demand to design millions of different products in almost every type of industry. Read more
News Feed on This Topic
Looking for more science fun?
Try one of our science activities for quick, anytime science explorations. The perfect thing to liven up a rainy day, school vacation, or moment of boredom.Find an Activity
Explore Our Science Videos
5 Science Experiments You Can Do With Peeps
DIY Glitter Surprise Package with a Simple Circuit
Make a Slushy! Yummy STEM Project