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Weather Watch: Study Guide!

Weather Instruments
Anemometer: An anemometer is an instrument designed to measure wind speed. Meteorologists
use anemometers to measure wind speed in one area. With this data, they can determine how
quickly a storm, or weather system, will travel to other areas.
Wind Vane: A wind vane is a tool for measuring wind direction. Knowing the direction of the
wind helps meteorologists determine in which direction a storm or weather system will travel.
Rain Gauge: Measures the amount of rain fallen over a period of time. When the water droplets
or ice crystals that make up clouds become too large to remain suspended in the air, they fall.
Water in any form that falls from clouds-snow, rain, hail-is called precipitation.
Snow Gauge: Measures the amount of snow fallen over a period of time. Snow is a form of
precipitation that is composed of white ice crystals that fall from clouds. Snow may stick
together to form snowflakes, which have a hexagonal or six-sided shape.
Barometer: Measures air pressure. It tells you whether or not the pressure is rising or falling.
A rising barometer means sunny and dry conditions, while a falling barometer means stormy and
wet conditions. An Italian scientist named Torricelli built the first barometer in 1643.
Thermometer: An instrument that measures temperature.
Other Important Terms & Information
Weather: describes the condition of the air at a particular time and place. Weather also tells
how the air moves (wind) and describes anything it might be carrying such as rain, snow or
clouds. Thunder, lightning, rainbows, haze and other special events are all part of weather.
Climate: describes the average weather conditions in a certain place or during a certain season.
Weather may change from day to day, but climate changes only over hundreds or thousands of
years. Many animals and plants need one kind of climate to survive. Dolphins and palm trees can
live only in a warm climate, while polar bears and spruce trees need a cold climate.
Humidity: The amount of water vapor in the air is referred to as humidity. The more water that is in
the air there is, the higher we say that the humidity has risen.

Insulation: a material that reduces or prevents the transmission of heat.

Dew: Water that forms on objects close to the ground when its temperature falls below the
dew point of the surface air.
Dew Point: The temperature at which water starts to condense out of a particular air mass.
The dew point temperature changes only when the moisture content of the air changes. The
higher the dew point, the greater the moisture content is in the air.

The Sun
Sun: Its responsible for most of the earth's weather, even though it is 93 million miles away.
The Suns intense heat gives energy to the earth's atmosphere and sets it in motion. The Sun is
a star, 868,000 miles across, in the center of our solar system. The suns rays are the most
concentrated in the afternoon (e.g., 12pm).
Sunrise: The time the sun appears above the horizon.
Sunset: The time the sun disappears below the horizon.
Types of Clouds
Clouds: A visible collection of tiny water droplets or, at colder temperatures, ice crystals
floating in the air above the surface. Clouds come in many different sizes and shapes. Clouds
can form at ground level, which is fog, at great heights in the atmosphere, and everywhere in
between. Clouds offer important clues to understanding and forecasting the weather.
1. Cumulus Clouds: Party cloudy weather. Puffy, flat on the bottom, sits between 5000 and
20 000 ft.
2. Stratus Clouds: Rain or foggy weather. Gray, thick, and sit below 5000ft.
3. Cumulonimbus Clouds: Stormy weather. Big, flat on the bottom, and sits between 500040 000 ft.
4. Cirrus Clouds: Mostly sunny weather. Wispy, thin, and above 20 000 ft.
Global Warming & Human Actions
Global warming is the term used to describe a gradual increase in the average temperature of
the Earth's atmosphere and its oceans, a change that is believed to be permanently changing
the Earth's climate.
What you can do to help!
Plant trees
Switch every light in your house to an energy-saving bulb
Reduce, reuse, recycle
Wear a sweater instead of turning up the heat in your house
Wear lighter clothing when its hot instead of turning on a fan
Turn lights, computers and all your chargers off and unplug them when theyre not in use
Only do full loads of laundry
Take shorter showers
Skip the car ride and use your bike, or walk or take the bus
Dont buy bottled water; drink tap water, and filter it if you like
Eat lower on the food chain (less meat) and eat fewer processed foods