Weather and Climate

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Part 1: Collecting Local Weather Data

For the first part of this week’s lab, you will need to collect at least five consecutive days’ worth of local weather data. Using measurements from your homemade weather instruments, complete the table below. For those instruments you did not build, use data from a weather website such as weather.com or wunderground.com. Collect your data once each day, keeping as close to the same time of day as possible. For sky conditions, note the approximate percent of the sky that is overcast, and identify the cloud types present if you can. Here is a simple web guide to cloud identification. (Links to an external site.)

Weather Station Data
Date and Time High Temp. (ºF) Wind Speed (mi/h) Wind Direction Air Pressure (height of water column, in cm) Precip. (inches) Sky Conditions
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Weather Station Data

In a couple of well-crafted paragraphs, reflect on your results. What happened over the course of the week? What is the general story of the recent weather where you live? What patterns do you see in your data? For instance, one means of forecasting stormy weather is through monitoring changes in barometric pressure. What do you wonder about?

Part 2: Local Impacts of Global Climate Change

Imagine collecting more weather data—indeed, imagine gathering weather data for 2,190 times as long as you did. At that point, you would have 30 years’ worth of weather measurements, and only then could a picture of your local climate emerge. Climate is defined as the weather conditions for a particular region, averaged over 30 years. To detect change in climate due to global warming, then, much more than 30 years’ worth of weather data are necessary. Let’s consider the past 60 years where you live. For this analysis, go to this web page: https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cag/county/time-series (Links to an external site.) and follow the steps below. (Note: In case of a government shutdown or other event that makes this site unavailable, contact your instructor for data sets.)

  1. Let’s begin by comparing one month’s high temperatures over 60 years. From the drop-down menus, choose Maximum Temperature for Parameter. Leave the Time Scale as 1- month. Choose a month you would like to compare—as long as you keep the month specification the same, which month you select does not matter. For Start Year, select 1958. End Year should be 2018. Select your State and County from the drop-down menus. Click on the rectangle labeled “Plot”. A graph of the high temperature values for each year should appear. Take a screen shot of the graph to include with you report. (If you are not certain how to do this, check out this helpful resource (Links to an external site.).) What trend do you notice in the overall trajectory of the graph, as you go from left to right? Is it going up, going down, or staying relatively level?
  2. Next, compare the same month’s low temperatures over the same time range. Leave all of your selections the same, except change Parameter to Minimum Temperature. What does the plot reveal this time? Are low temperatures for your chosen month generally rising, falling, or staying the same in your county? Again, be sure to take a screen shot of the graph.
  3. Finally, compare precipitation for the same month over the past 60 years. Leave all other selections the same except change Parameter to Precipitation. What does the plot show? Is precipitation rising where you live, dropping, or staying approximately the same? Be sure to take a screen shot of the graph for your report.

Part Three: Global Climate Change

Finally, view the animation at http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap130731.html (Links to an external site.). (Note: In case of a government shut down or other event that makes this site unavailable, contact your instructor for data sets.) Assess the differences from 1884 to 2011. What particular regions of the Earth have changed the most over that time, and how have they changed? Why might those regions be particularly sensitive to climate change? (This question may require some research in the text or using a credible online resource.)

Lab Report

For your lab report this week, submit an APA formatted paper

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