Predicting the Weather
||edHelper's suggested reading level:
||grades 7 to 8
||Flesch-Kincaid grade level:
||anemometer, pinwheel, forecasters, groundhog, moderate, gauge, vane, ruler, original, barometer, extreme, ordinary, forecast, scale, determine, location
||Sir Francis Beaufort, Relative Humidity
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Predicting the Weather
By Sharon Fabian
1 If the groundhog sees his shadow there will be six more weeks of winter. Watching the groundhog is one way of predicting the weather, but it's not the most scientific way. To really forecast the weather, you will need to look at things like wind speed, wind direction, temperature, air pressure, precipitation, and humidity.
2 There are different ways to measure each of these things, and weather forecasters use all of the data to help predict the weather.
4 The temperature outdoors is measured with the same type of instrument used to measure a person's temperature, a thermometer. It can be measured in either degrees Fahrenheit or degrees Celsius.
5 Wind Speed
6 Wind speed can be measured using a device called an anemometer. An anemometer is like a pinwheel turned on its side. You can make a simple one using straws and small paper cups. Arrange the straws to form an X. The middle of the X can be attached to the eraser end of a pencil with a pin; this is the axis that they will spin around. Attach a cup to the end of each straw. The cups must all face in the same direction so that the wind will spin the anemometer around the axis. You can measure how many times it revolves per minute to find the wind speed.
7 Wind speed can also be estimated by observing nature. In 1805, Sir Francis Beaufort created a scale to measure wind speed. His original scale was used to observe waves and sailing ships, but other versions of the scale can be used anywhere today. According to a Beaufort scale, wind that just makes the leaves rustle is called a slight breeze. Wind that moves leaves and twigs is called a gentle breeze. Wind that makes the branches sway is a strong breeze. When whole trees move, it is considered a moderate gale. Wind that causes extreme damage and is life threatening is a hurricane. These are just some examples. Look up a Beaufort scale if you would like to see all of the details.
8 Wind Direction
9 A weather vane measures wind direction. You can make a weather vane using some of the same materials that you use to make the anemometer. Start with a pencil for the axis. Use a pin to attach a straw across the top of the pencil. Put a small lump of clay at one end for a weight. Attach a small rectangular card to the other end. The wind will turn the weather vane until the end with the lump of clay points into the wind.
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