Weather Watch -- From Students
Accurately predicting weather is essential to survival. Early humans were keen observers of their environment. They used the position of the rising, setting and noon sun to predict seasonal changes. Many civilizations set up sites for observing the sun. For more immediate weather changes, ancient peoples watched clouds, wind shifts, temperature changes and pressure variations. An intriguing history of weather prediction can be found at "Weather Forecasting Through the Ages," on NASA's Earth Observatory Web site.
Modern weather prediction uses mathematical equations that describe the physics of weather and powerful storms. But scientists still have much to learn about predicting storms from the data available.
The Student Activities provide instructions for making important weather measurements. So get them started -- weather is happening right now!
You need equipment to measure minimum and maximum air temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, and wind speed and direction. Obtain individual pieces of equipment or an entire weather monitoring system that can automate data collection from any number of suppliers of science equipment. A list of suppliers is on the GLOBE Web site.
Procedures for measuring properties of the air and cloud cover are in the Student Activities. The activities also have field data collection sheets. The units of measurement are those most used by professionals and may not be metric units. If you are a GLOBE school, or if you wish more complete and extensive procedures, GLOBE protocols can be downloaded in PDF format and used in place of the procedures. If you use a complete weather station, GLOBE provides procedures for three weather stations. These procedures can be modified for other weather stations.