A CIESE Realtime Data Project

Activity 5: Are weather forecasts always right?

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Weather predicting information that was once available only to experts is now accessible to everyone via the internet. In addition to the weather data you collected and analyzed, you can access satellite and radar images from the same sites you've been using in the other lessons to look at and try to predict the weather yourself.


  • Weather Learning Log or Student Worksheet
  • Results from the last activity (Activity 4)
  • Computers with Internet access

Turn to the sheet in your Weather Learning Log or your Student Worksheet where you recorded your graphs and data analysis from the last activity. You will need this to answer the questions below.

Part 1: How do meteorologists predict the weather?
Discuss and answer the following questions:

  • What tools do meteorologists use to predict weather?
  • Are they always right? List several examples when they were right or wrong.

Part 2: Are weather forecasters always right?

  1. Go to the CNN Weather Maps weather web site and access the satellite and radar images for your country/region. After you access each of the maps, view the animated version.
    • satellite image for your region / country;
    • animated satellite image for their region / country;
    • radar image for region / country; and
    • regional animated radar image for your region / country.
  2. In the animated images, was the weather generally moving in one direction? If so, which?
  3. How do you think this might assist you to predict, or forecast the weather?
  4. In Part 3 of the previous activity, you analyzed the weather from the previous two weeks to look for trends. How do you think this might assist you to forecast the weather? For example, was the air pressure falling or raising at the end of the two-weeks? Did the temperature hold steady?, etc.
  5. Make predictions for the weather for the next four (4) days based on the graphs and data analysis from the last activity in addition to the satellite and radar images. Explain your reasons for your forecast.
  6. Once you have recorded your forecast, use a newspaper or go to the Weather Underground (back-up) and look at the forecast for the next four days. How do your predictions compare with the predictions on the site?
  7. Do you agree with the forecast? Why or why not?
  8. THE NEXT DAY: Check the accuracy of your forecast with he actual weather of the day? Was it correct? Was the weather web site's forecast correct?

Write a few paragraphs describing your final conclusions of this investigative study. You should include the following:

  1. Introduction - basic information such as:
    • School name, location, grade and/or subject area, etc.
  2. Main Body
    • Name, place, and description of where you measured the weather (temperature, precipitation, sky conditions, wind, etc.).
    • Description of your investigation (e.g. what you did, how long, etc.)
    • Description of each of the weather variables (temperature, etc.) and the tools used to measure them.
    • Summary of the observed weather in each of the three cities during the two week period (you can include graphs, charts, etc. for this)
  3. Conclusions
    • What is weather?
    • How do meteorologists predict weather?

EXTENSION: this last section can be completed over the next several days.

  1. Record the actual weather for the next four (4) days using the class instruments and the weather web site every day. At the end of the four days, answer the following:
  2. Which forecast was more accurate? yours, the weather web site, both, or neither?
  3. Were the four-day forecasts accurate every day or were they more accurate for the first couple of days or last couple of days? Why do you think so?

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