Sunday, September 7, 2008

Science Saturday: Weather and Storms

I apologize for the last posting of this. I am working on getting the posts typed up ahead of time so I can just submit them on busy days, but I haven't quite gotten there yet. Thanks for understanding.

Hurricanes are formed over warm water (79 degrees or warmer) and occur when a warm, wet air mass begins to evaporate. The heat, air and water combine to form a large, violent, swirling mass of clouds, wind, and rain. In the center of the storm, is a relatively calm area called the "eye". Hurricanes are also called tropical cyclones.
Here is a photo of Hurricane Ivan over the US September 15, 2004

Tornadoes form as an area of high pressure meets an area of low pressure. Increased wind speed in the low pressure area form an invisible, horizontal tube of spining air. As the high pressure area moves in, it pushes that tube of air, making it vertical. Tornadoes can have wind speeds up to 300MPH and move forward at a rate of up to 75MPH. Most tornadoes (75%) occur in the US and most commonly between 3 and 9PM. Tornadoes formed over water are called waterspouts. Here is a photo of a tornado near Oklahoma:

Hurricane Cloud Formation
Soda Bottle Cyclone
-In middle school, I remember making a smaller scale of this same project, but only used 1 soda bottle (any size except the tiny ones). We filled it with water and some glitter (you could use beads too), added a penny, and then capped it. Then you swirl the bottle around, creating a vortex in the water.

Here is one to study the weather and climate in your area.

Make your own anemometer (wind meter)

Here is one that is good for emergency preparedness. It tests fillers for sandbags to find the most effective one. It is written by a kid and is a good example of writing up a scientific experiment, including using the scientific method (hypothesis, observation, conclusion, etc).

Here is a good book for more weather-related science experiments:

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