Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.
- Charles Dudley Warner
Do a science fair project in this area and at least you'll be able to talk with more authority! Weather and atmospheric science offer lots of opportunities for interesting projects. It's a satisfyingly complex area, with lots of online resources so you can make your project as easy or as advanced as you want. And when you're done, you'll have a science fair project everyone can talk about.
Smog days are often posted in your local newspaper. Check how many smog days your city has had in the last year. How does it compare to to other years? You can also take pictures of your city landscape on high and low smog days. How do the pictures compare? How does smog in the atmosphere affect visibility? What is smog made of? You can use tongue depressors smeared with Vaseline to check for smog particles in different areas; just stick in the ground and look at them a few days later. …
On a windy day it is hard to keep your hat on! The power of the wind can even be strong enough to power large wind turbines to make electricity! In this experiment, find out how you can make your own instrument to measure the speed and power of the wind. How does it work?
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…
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.
On a rainy day, do you ever wonder what the weather is like on the other side of the planet? Different regions around the globe can have very different seasonal weather patterns. In this experiment, you can test if these seasonal variations are related to which hemisphere each region is located in.
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…
From the name, you might guess that a psychrometer is an instrument designed to measure your thoughts. Psych! Actually, it is an instrument that can help you forecast the weather. Read more to find out how it works.
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…
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 vary with latitude? What happens as you move away from the equator? 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)