Weather Patterns

Weather is something that everyone talks about. Its patterns affect our daily lives in small ways. Its patterns can also affect humans positively or negatively in large scale, catastrophic or economic ways.

Sample some of the following activities to learn more about weather patterns.


Places To Go    People To See    Things To Do    Teacher Resources    Bibliography

Places To Go

The following are places to go (some real and some virtual) to find out about weather patterns.

Atacama Desert
Travel to one of the driest places on earth, the Atacama Desert in Chile. Because of weather patterns from the nearby Pacific Ocean, there are portions of this desert where rain has virtually never been recorded.
Travel to Cape Disappointment in Washington state. With more than 2,500 hours of fog each year, it is one of the foggiest places in the United States. Fog and mist are simply clouds that are close to the ground. They consist of small water droplets that float in the air.
How Lightning Works
If you are afraid of lightning, think twice about visiting Zimbabwe. It is one of the countries that is most frequently struck by lightning.
Lightning Strikes
Virtually visit the locations in the United States where lightning strikes have occurred in the past two hours.
NASA: Goddard DAAC
Travel to Hawaii and learn how weather patterns pick up dust from China and carry it across the Pacific Ocean to Hawaii.
National Climatic Data Center
Visit the National Climatic Data Center. It's the world's largest archive of weather data.
National Hurricane Center
Float over to the National Hurricane Center and see the latest satellite imagery and read the aircraft reconnaissance reports for up-to-date hurricane information.
Virtual Tour - South Pole
Spend time at a location with unique weather patterns. The highest ever recorded temperature at the south pole was 3 degrees Fahrenheit.

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People To See

Ask the Weather Guys
USA Today meteorologists answer weather and climate questions.
Beaufort Wind Scale
Meet Francis Beaufort. He developed a scale to measure wind intensity. The Beaufort Scale has 13 points. Force 0 is no wind, and Force 12 is a hurricane.
Climate Kids
Talk with climatologists who like to study the weather patterns of the past. They call this study of past weather “hindcasting” instead of forecasting.
Dan's Wild Wild Cloud Gallery
Meet meteorologists who study clouds. Clouds form in the layer of the atmosphere called the troposphere.
Mirage - What is it?
See people who live in dry, hot places and learn about an unusual pattern that occurs in their locale because of intense heat. When heat rises up from the ground, it can make light shimmer and sway so that it looks like water. This is called a mirage.
Punxsutawney Phil
Meet Punxsutawney Phil. He is an expert on weather patterns and predictions.
Tropical Cyclone Naming History and Retired Names
Meet the people who name hurricanes. Since 1979, the World Meteorological Organization has been in charge of naming hurricanes. Each year, they develop an alphabetical list of male and female names in English, Spanish, and French. Whenever a hurricane forms, it is given a name from the official list beginning with the A names, moving to the B names, and so forth.
Typhoon MAWAR
Talk with worldwide meteorologists. Each part of the globe has its own cycle of when hurricanes form. In most of the Atlantic, the Caribbean, and around most of Mexico and Central America, the term for these storms is hurricane and the pattern for when they form is In the Indian Ocean, these storms are called cyclones.
Weather Wiz Kids
Meet Meteorologist, Crystal Wicker. She has designed a weather website just for kids.
A chinook is an American weather anomaly. It is a warm, dry, wind that blows down from the Rocky Mountains toward the plains below. Chinook winds cause sudden and extreme rises in temperature. Did you know that there are other types of winds with specific names?

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Things To Do

Coriolis Effect
Find out about the Coriolis effect which causes tornadoes in the northern hemisphere to rotate in a counterclockwise direction and tornadoes in the southern hemisphere to rotate in a clockwise direction.
Deciphering Mysteries of Past Climate From Antarctic Ice Cores
Discover how scientists are studying ancient weather patterns by examining layers of sediment that accumulated over thousands of years in ice and rock.
El Niño Theme Page
Figure out the difference between El Niño and La Niña. How can these two weather patterns affect worldwide economy?
Farmers Almanac
Thumb through the old Farmer's Almanac. It has been around since 1793 and is still going strong! Use the "Today in Weather History" to try and spot global weather trends.
Rice is a major, staple food item for 60% of the world's population. Over 90% of the world's production of rice is occurs in east Asia. Have students predict the worldwide consequences of rice crop failure due to unfavorable weather conditions in Asia. Identify other food crops whose failure could affect worldwide populations.
UEN: Weather Resources
In addition to accessing a wide variety of weather related Internet resources and online games, students can visit the Online Cloud Guide to access a collection of images which illustrate the different cloud types.
USA Today: Understanding Lightning
Learn about the weather patterns that create lightning. Find out how lightning reaches the ground, how it creates thunder, what happens when lightning hits a person, how to use thunder to estimate lightning distance, what safety precautions to take in a lightning storm, and more.
World Weather Watch
Register your class to particpate in this great weather project. Exchange weather information across climate zones in this collaboration. Predict, track and research global weather by asking questions.

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Teacher Resources

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  • Bramwell, Martyn. Weather. New York: Franklin Watts, c1994.
  • Bundey, Nikki. Ice and the Earth. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books, 2000.
  • Casey, Denise. Weather Everywhere. New York: Macmillan Books for Young Readers, c1995.
  • Cosgrove, Brian. Weather. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 2000.
  • Cosgrove, Brian. The World of Weather. Shrewsbury, England: Swan Hill Press; Stillwater, MN: Distributed in the U.S. by Voyageur Press, c1997.
  • Craig, M. Jean. Questions and Answers About Weather. New York: Scholastic, 1996.
  • Eden, Philip. Weather Facts. London; New York: Dorling Kindersley, 1995.
  • Goldstein, Mel. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Weather. New York: Alpha Books, c1999.
  • Humphrey, Paul. Weather. London; New York: Children's Press, 1997.
  • Kahl, Jonathan D. Weather Watch: Forecasting the Weather. Minneapolis : Lerner Publications, c1996.
  • Kerrod, Robin. Weather. New York: Lorenz Books, 1997.
  • Morgan, Sally. Changing Climate. New York: Franklin Watts, 1999.
  • Owen, Andy. Watching the Weather. Des Plaines, Ill.: Heinemann Library, 1999.
  • Reynolds, Ross. Cambridge Guide to Weather. Cambridge, U.K.; New York: Cambridge University Press, c2000.
  • Silverstein, Alvin. Weather and Climate. Brookfield, Conn.: Twenty-First Century Books, c1998.
  • Stevens, William K. The Change in the Weather: People, Weather, and the Science of Climate. New York: Delacorte Press, c1999.
  • Taylor, Barbara. Weather and Climate. New York: Kingfisher Books, 1993.
  • Watts, Alan. The Weather Handbook. Dobbs Ferry, NY: Sheridan House, 1999.