school projects

RECORDING WEATHER



Meteorologists gather information about the weather from satellites, balloons, and other instruments. Powerful computers help them to analyze the data. Using this information, meteorologists draw weather maps. These can show the state of the weather at any one time, or they can be a forecast of weather in the future. The maps use symbols to represent conditions such as rainfall and wind direction.

You can set up your own weather station to record daily conditions with a few simple devices. You will be able to use some of the instruments you have made in the other projects, such as the weather vane, hygrometer, and rain gauge. You will also need to buy a thermometer to measure the temperature. Take measurements with your weather instruments every day. Write them down in a special weather book. Also, make a note of what the weather is like in general – fine, cloudy, drizzly, frosty, and so on. Don’t forget to make a note of the date!

Meteorologists look at records from the past to discover changes in climate. The project opposite shows you how to make your own discoveries about climate changes, by looking at the record of tree growth.

Forecasting rainForecasting rain
A hygrometer will gauge the amount of moisture in the air. When the pointer tilts up on the scale, the air is moist and rain may be on the way.

measuring rainfallMeasuring rainfall
A rain gauge will tell you how much rain has fallen. Rainfall is collected over a set period in a jar or measuring bottle, and the amount is recorded.

Wind direction
Wind directionA windmill shows how hard the wind is blowing. A weather vane will tell you the wind’s direction. The arrow points in the direction that the wind is blowing from. So if the arrow points west, the wind is a west wind.

THE WOODEN WEATHER RECORD

YOU WILL NEED

Newly cut log, decorating paintbrush, ruler with 1/16in measurements, metric graph paper, pen or pencil.

step 1
STEP 1

Ask a tree surgeon, the local council, or a sawmill for a newly cut slice of log. Use the paintbrush to brush away the dust and dirt from the slice of wood.

step 2
STEP 2
When the log slice is clean, examine it closely. Look at the pattern of rings. They are small in the middle, and get bigger and bigger toward the outer edge of the log.


step 3
STEP 3
Each ring is a year’s growth. So count the rings out from the middle carefully. This tells you how old the tree is. If there are 105 rings, for instance, the tree is 105 years old.

step 4
STEP 4
Using a ruler, measure the width of each ring. Start from the center and work outward. Ask a friend to write down the widths as you call them out.

step 5
STEP 5
On graph paper, mark five squares for each year along the bottom. Mark widths for the rings up the side, five squares for each 1/16in. plot your measurements as dots for each year.

step 6
STEP 6
Join the dots with a line. This line shows how the weather has changed with each year. If the line is going up, the weather was warmer so the tree grew a lot. If the line falls, the weather was colder so the tree grew less.
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