Weather Assignment

Georgia Perimeter College


  1. Analyze weather maps.

  2. Observe, measure and communicate weather data.

  3. Use weather data to predict weather events and infer patterns and seasonal changes.


What weather words do you know?  List them on the board.


Blue paper (construction paper or printer paper)
White paper (printer paper)
Glue or tape or glue sticks
Weather instruments
Thermometers of various types
Sling psychrometers
Rain gauge

Safety concerns



Background information

1.  Where can you find weather reports?  List.

2.  What information is found in a weather report? List.

3.  What is the difference between a weather report and a weather forecast?

4.  What instruments are used to collect weather data?  What type of data does each instrument collect?

Weather Instrument Type of data measured or collected

5.  How many different types of thermometers can you name?



  1. What do the cloud terms mean?  See the table below.

    Cloud terms

    Percent cloud cover

    Clear Less than 10% cloud cover
    Isolated 10-25% cloud cover
    Scattered 25-50% cloud cover
    Broken 50-90% cloud cover
    Overcast More than 90% cloud cover

    But what exactly do these cloud covers look like?  Using blue and white paper, model different cloud covers using a piece of white paper that is a certain percentage of the size of the blue paper.  Determine the percentage of cloud cover you wish to model.  Use white paper that is that percentage of the size of the blue paper.  (For example, a white paper that is half the size of the blue paper would be used to model 50% cloud cover).  Write the percent on the back of the blue page and keep it a secret.  Cut or tear the white paper into clouds.  Tape or glue them onto the blue page.

    Randomize or shuffle the sky simulations.  Number each sky simulation on the front. Have students examine each other's simulations and estimate the percentage of cloud cover.  (Show on document camera, and have students estimate percentage of cloud cover for each.  Students should record data in a table.) 

    Simulation Estimate Classification

    After students have examined all of the simulations and made estimates of cloud cover, create a table on the board to compare the estimates with the actual percentages.

    Simulation Actual % Number of Underestimates Number classified correctly Number of Overestimates

    Then reveal the actual percentage and determine how many overestimates and how many underestimates there were for each simulation.

  2. Choose a location and collect weather data for several weeks during this semester (such as the month of September). (Go back as far as you need to in order to find at least two rainy days.)  You can measure it directly, find it in the newspaper, or find it online.
    Make a table to record your data.  Or you may keep your data in a computer spreadsheet program, such as Excel.
    See these websites for weather data:
    Past Weather Archive, National Weather Service
    Past Observations at for any city, such as (be sure to scroll down to see the data table).

    See this exercise for an example of a procedure to follow.

    Record the following data (if available):
    1. Wind speed
    2. High temperature for the day (oF)
    3. Low temperature for the day  (oF)
    4. Barometric pressure (or PRS) (in)
    5. Relative humidity (or RH) (%)
    6. Clouds
    7. Precipitation   
  1. Looking at a table of weather data, at what time of day does the highest temperature typically occur? _______________________
  2. On your paper, graph paper, or computer, graph the high and low temperatures for each month of the year.  (See
  3. How would you display temperature data from a number of different locations? __________________

    Find a temperature map in the newspaper or online (such as the University of Illinois temperature contour map ).  Click on the map to enlarge it, and animate it. 

    How are the temperatures depicted? _________________________________

    What is the scale? ____________________________________

    What are the highest temperatures, and where? _____________________________________

    What are the lowest temperatures, and where? ____________________________________

    You can animate the temperature change over the past several days.  What patterns and changes do you notice? _____________________________________________________________________


  4. Find the lowest barometric pressure readings for the month with your online data.  What are the lowest pressure readings like?  What sort of weather (clouds, precipitation, etc.) accompanies low pressure readings?  Does this differ from the weather during high pressure readings?

    Low pressure readings ____________________________________________________

    Type of weather associated with low pressure __________________________________________

    Type of weather associated with high pressure __________________________________________
  5. Rain is associated with what type of barometric pressure?  High or low?

  6. Why is this?  Read your Basic Introduction to Weather course notes to find out.  Write a simple explanation.  Draw sketches to accompany your answer.
  7. How does barometric pressure change with elevation? Take a barometer and head to a nearby building that is at least four stories tall.  Most barometers read the pressure in "inches of mercury".  The average atmospheric pressure at sea level is about 30 in.
    Read the barometer on the lowest floor of the building. _________________________

    Ride the elevator up to the top floor of the building (or the roof).  Read the barometer.  ________________

    Go back to the lowest floor and read the barometer again. ________________________

    What is the relationship between the reading on the top floor and the bottom floor?


    What is the difference in pressure between the top and bottom floor? ____________________

    What do you think causes this? _________________________________________________

    Divide the difference in pressure by the pressure value for the lowest floor.  Multiply by 100% to convert your answer to a percentage.  This percentage is approximately the percentage of the Earth's atmosphere that you went through on the elevator ride.
  8. Examine an air pressure map (such as the University of Illinois sea level pressure contour map).  Where are the high and low pressure centers?
  9. Work through this web site on Reading Weather Maps, particularly the section on Surface Observations  Click the links and the arrow at the bottom of the page to proceed.

    Now look at a Surface Observation map

    Answer the questions here.
    "Image/Text/Data from the University of Illinois WW2010 Project."

    a. Fill in the blanks of the diagram to indicate what type of meteorological data is represented by each location on the symbol.



    b) What is the temperature in Des Moines, Iowa?

    c) What is the dew point temperature in Phoenix, Arizona?

    d) What is the pressure in Dallas, Texas?

    e) What is the report of cloud cover in Chicago, Illinois?

    f) What is the report of current weather (weather symbol) in Casper, Wyoming?

    g) What is the speed and direction of the wind in Miami, Florida?


  1. Check the National Hurricane Center website.  Are there any current hurricanes, tropical storms, or tropical depressions being monitored today?  What are their names?  Where are they expected to hit, and when?  List all hurricanes, tropical storms, or tropical depressions that have been reported over the past month using the Tropical Cyclone Advisory Archive for the current year.
  2. Do NOAA Hurricane Activity. Worksheet.
  3. Plot the course of Hurricane Ivan (September 2005), Katrina (August 2005), or a current hurricane on a hurricane-tracking map
  4. Do NOAA Tornado Activity. Worksheet.
  5. Do NOAA Lightning Activity. Worksheet.

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Content provided by Pamela Gore, Georgia Perimeter College

Page created by Pamela J.W. Gore
Georgia Perimeter College,
Clarkston, GA

Page created September 25, 2007
Links updated Aug 20, 2008
Other updates Sugust 23, 2008