A CIESE Realtime Data Project

Activity 2: Use the Internet to observe Weather

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Overview:
During the last activity, you learned how to read and record measurements with each of the weather instruments that you built. Now, you are going to (1) use the instruments to record today's weather and (2) compare today's weather for your city / town and the weather from another location using the Internet. This serves the following purposes: to become familiar with how to use the weather web site so that you will be able to enter a city, read, and record the weather information, access archived data for previous days, and how to use some of the graphs that meteorologists use to compare and analyze weather data.

Materials:

  • Weather Learning Log or Student Worksheet to record your answers.
  • Weather instruments from the last activity.
  • Computer with Internet access.

Instructions:
Part 1: Data Tables
Make the following two tables in your Weather Learning Log to record your weather data:

  1. Current Conditions
  Class Instruments Internet Barrow, AK
Latitude, Longitude:

NA

   
Time Conditions last updated:      
Temperature: C C C
Sky Conditions:      
Wind:      
Wind Direction:      
Wind Speed:      
Precipitation Type:      
Precipitation Amount: mm mm mm
Air Pressure: units mb mb
  1. Temperature for the last seven days
  7 days ago 6 days ago 5 days ago 4 days ago 3 days ago 2 days ago Yesterday
Your City C C C C C C C
Barrow, AK C C C C C C C

Part 2: Use the Internet to observe weather

  1. Class Instruments: Record your measurements in the column marked "Class Instruments" using the weather instruments you made in the previous activity.
    NOTE: If you are combining Activities 1 and 2, you should record your measurements as you build each of the instruments.
  2. Your City / Town
    1. Go to the Weather Underground site.
    2. Enter the name of your city in the Location box which is in the upper left hand corner and click the Search button. If the exact location is not in the database then select the next closest city or town.
    3. Locate the current weather conditions in the center of the page and write the time the conditions were last updated, the current temperature, wind, air pressure, etc. in the "Current Conditions" data table.
    4. Scroll down to "History and Alamanac" below "Maps and Radar" and select the date for yesterday and then click on "View".
    5. Write the "Mean Temperature" in the corresponding column for your city / town (i.e. yesterday) in the Temperature for the last seven days Data Table.
    6. Click the "Previous Day" link and write the mean temperature in the 2 days ago column.
    7. Repeat until you complete for the seven days.
    8. After you've entered the data, click the back button to return to this page.
  3. Barrow, AK
    1. Return to the Weather Underground site and enter Barrow, AK in the "Fast Forecast" window.
    2. Repeat the steps above and enter the corresponding information into both Data tables.
    3. After you've entered the data, click the back button to return to this page.

Part 3: Analyze the Data

  1. Class Instruments vs. the Internet: Compare and contrast the weather you collected for your city with the data from the Internet for your city.
    1. Create a bar graph comparing the temperature you collected with the class instruments with the data from the Internet for your city / town (see example).
    2. Is your temperature the same as reported on the web site? If not, can you think of any reasons why they're not the same?
    3. Will the temperature be the same tonight? tomorrow? in one week? in one month? Why or why not?
    4. Why is it important to use standardized terminology for sky conditions? Are your sky conditions the same as reported on the web site? If not, can you think of any reasons why they're not the same?
    5. Does your wind data (direction and speed) match the data from the web? If not, can you think of any reasons why they're not the same?
    6. For air pressure, you used general units while the Internet posted the measurement in mb. How could you correlate the two?
    7. What are some of the other items listed on the weather web page? What do they measure?
  2. Your location vs. Barrow, AK: Compare and contrast your city with the weather data from Barrow, AK.
    1. Was the weather similar or different? Describe the similarities and differences.
    2. Create a bar graph comparing the current temperatures in Barrow, AK with your city.
    3. Were the temperature similar or different in both cities?
    4. What reason (s) do you think might account for the similarities or differences?
      (Hint: there are several)
  3. Temperature for the last seven days: Analyze the changes in temperature for the last week and compare the two cities.
    1. Draw one graph containing two line graphs comparing the temperature from your city and Barrow, AK for the last seven days over Time (see example). Label the x-axis using each of the different dates starting with 7 days ago to the left and ending with today's date to the right and the y-axis in C.
      NOTE: Don't forget to label each of the lines to distinguish between the two graphs.
    2. For your city, did the temperature go up, down, or stay the same over the past week?
    3. For Barrow, AK, did the temperature go up, down, or stay the same over the past week?
    4. How did the two cities compare?

Homework (optional):
Do you think weather is the same all over the world? Choose a city in another country where a family member or friend lives and write a short narrative about what you think the weather is like there. In your paragraph, try to answer the following questions:

  • Do you think the temperature in your relative's town will be warmer or colder then in your own? Why?
  • How would this affect their lives? For example, their house, clothes, etc.
  • What type of precipitation might you expect? Why?
  • Will the wind speed be higher or lower? Why?

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