Snowstorms -- From Weather Stations
During a snowstorm, students monitor temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, wind speed and direction, cloud cover and a variety of other conditions. Students compare their measurements with the information from the local weather station. It is helpful to check the local radar throughout the storm. The radar information will tell about the intensity of the storm. The links to Winter's Story Weather Watch Weather Stations helps your students monitor basic weather conditions throughout the storm. They compare their basic weather measurements with professional weather stations and satellites linked in the From Satellites component of Weather Watch.
NOAA Monthly Snowfall and Snotel Western States Snow Depth are resources for analyzing snowfall. How did the amount of snow vary over the storm? Did your location get more or less snow than one two miles from you? Twenty miles? Two hundred miles? Why did these differences occur? Understanding the answers to these questions can help to answer the question "What can snowstorms tell us about climate?"
To understand and answer this question, it is necessary to compare local weather and storm conditions with other places in the country. The links to weather stations provided in the Getting Started box above will help.
Students can compare their snowflake data with other Winter's Story sites around the country that are also identifying snowflakes. Maybe another group of students collected data on snowflakes from the same storm you had. How did their snowflakes and weather conditions compare with your students' data? Have students look for patterns to determine how weather conditions affect snowflake shape. Snowflakes form high in the clouds. They will discover what the shapes of snowflakes indicate about conditions high above them.