Water Cycle - Weather (4)

  • Analyzing weather satellite photos.
  • Creating a cloud cover map.
  • meteorologist
  • satellite photo
  • weather map
  • Internet
  • Symbols Used in Plotting Report
  • Satellite Map-Southeastern Coast of U.S.
  • United States Placemats
  • newspaper weather map

Students compare cloud cover on satellite images.



Although students have heard TV weather personalities talk about weather satellite photos, many students do not know really what they mean. Weather is constantly changing, satellite photos record this dynamic changing system. A satellite photo is what an area actually looks like from space. There are many types of data that satellites can obtain. They can chart the movement of cloud cover, heat, precipitation, and many other parameters. Satellite photos have provided an invaluable tool to understand how weather moves. Sometimes the data may reflect only what the satellite can detect. For instance on cloud photos, they may only record the highest type of cloud.

A weather map is a graphical representation of how the meteorologist may interpret the information they receive. The weather map is a way to chart all the data points to easily see if there are patterns emerging from the weather patterns.

  1. Refer back to last week's lab on how air moves. Discuss pressure systems. High pressures refers to air that dense which usually refers to cold air. Low pressures refers to air whose molecules are farther apart, which usually refers to warm air. Pressure moves from high to low pressure.
  2. Use a newspaper to show students a weather map and compare it with the satellite photo they will be using in lab.
  3. If you have internet access you may want students to visit the following sites, so students can see how much data can be obtained from satellite images.
  1. http://www.weatherimages.org/
    This site links to many other sites that have live image feeds. You can find your local area so students can learn how to access information. You never know when students want to know the weather for a sporting event!
  2. http://www.noaa.gov/
    This site is the government agency responsible for weather services. The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Agency provides information from satellite feeds and other types of monitoring system throughout the world. The National Weather Service is responsible for the weather.
  1. The lab sheet mainly guides students to find answers to questions about the specific maps. Sky coverage refers to the amount of clouds in the sky. This is an observational recording, especially if you are looking at a satellite photo or you are on the ground looking.
  1. Students may have problems trying to make a sky coverage map, so help guide their learning. You may want to make sure student understand what the fractions represent on the pie chart.
  2. Make sure that all students understand that the lines of the states are not seen from space. They are superimposed by computer graphics.
  3. You may want students work in groups to determine the cloud cover. Debate is good, because many of these calls are subject to interpretation.

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