FACTORS THAT INFLUENCE CLIMATE
You are a meteorologist who is studying climate in cities around the world.
You are studying average temperatures, and are finding some interesting trends in the data!
Analyze the evidence, and prepare to discover what influences climate around the world.
I. CONSIDER THE SCIENTIFIC QUESTION
What factors influence average temperatures around the world? Based on your conclusion, what information do you need to predict average temperature in any city for a certain month?
II. GATHER EVIDENCE
1. Analyze the world map at http://www.earthkam.ucsd.edu/public/educators/pdf/GeoImportandFactsLatAndLong.pdf to review longitude and latitude.
2. Read the definition of elevation.
3. Print data collecton sheet.
4. Visit http://www.weatherbase.com. Find a city in the United States that is near you (click on United States, your state, and a city near you). On your data collection sheet, record:
Average Temperature for March
Repeat this for a city in:
III. DRAW CONCLUSIONS
1. Based on your data, what can you conclude about how latitude, longitude, and elevation affect temperature? Complete the “Observations of Average Temperatures" portion of your "Factors that Influence Climate" Analysis .
2. After making your prediction about what factors influence temperature, visit the following Web sites, and then complete the “Research on Climate ” portion of your worksheet.
http://www.windows.ucar.edu/earth/climate/cli_latitude.html (climate changes with latitude)
http://www.factmonster.com/ce6/weather/A0857393.html (primary factors that affect temperature)
http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/jan99/916068933.Es.r.html (effect of elevation on temperature)
IV. CONSIDER ALTERNATIVES
Are there any temperatures that can’t be supported by your hypothesis? What could be explanations for the cause of these variations? Visit the following Web site to explore possibilities, and then complete the "Alternative Explanations for Climate" portion of your worksheet.
http://www.usatoday.com/weather/wseabrze.htm (sea breezes)
http://www.ecn.ac.uk/Education/factors_affecting_climate.htm#Distance%20From%20The%20Sea (factors affecting climate)
http://www.factmonster.com/ce6/weather/A0857394.html (secondary factors that affect temperature)
IV. COMMUNICATE YOUR FINDINGS
Write a letter to the scientific community detailing your remarkable discovery! Be sure to explain your data, what you believe are the key factors, and why you think these factors influence average temperatures.
V. ADDITIONAL WEBSITES YOU MIGHT FIND INTERESTING
http://www.nws.noaa.gov/ (NOAA National Weather Service)
http://weathereye.kgan.com/cadet/climate/climate_vs.html (difference between weather and climate)
http://www.jgiesen.de/sunshine/index.htm (sunshine applet)
Comments and suggestions are welcome.
Last updated: March 15, 2006
© 2006 Nancy M. Rugel