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Lab # 6 (Summer)—Earth Science

Weather

Purpose: To keep a weather diary to check the accuracy of local forecasts for a given location.

One of the forecasting tools used by weathermen is the historical record for a given location coupled with the type of weather approaching the region. Although general comments can be made such as “high pressure signals good weather” or “low pressure signals bad weather”, the actual prediction depends on the location in question and the weather for the preceding days for that location.

In this first of two weather labs, you will keep a “weather diary” for a week which will reflect the  predicted high temperature, low temperature, and weather conditions for a given location each day as well as the  actual weather conditions for that same location. The data for this diary must come from an Internet source or a newspaper (most of the local TV stations have a website with weather information if you don’t like one of my suggestions below.) You must use the same source everyday and you should get the  predictedweather the day BEFORE each entry date and the  actual high and low temperatures the day AFTER each entry date. If you are doing this for your home location (which I suggest), you can use what you observe outside in the blank labeled “Actual Weather” each day.

Procedure:

1. Although this lab is for one full week’s worth of weather, it may take more days to compete the data record so plan ahead. You can start any day of the week that you want, but you need the forecast from the day before.

2. You can use the data sheet provided under the icon on the lab page of Blackboard or make up your own. However, the minimum amount of information for each day consists of the predicted high, low, and weather (from the day before) and the actual high, low, and weather (on the day following.)

3. Once you have gathered the data for all days, you should construct 3 line graphs as described below.

a) Using the 7 days of the week as the horizontal axis and temperature as the vertical axis, plot the forecasted high temperatures as a line graph (connected dots.) On the same graph, plot the actual high temperatures as a line graph. Be sure to label completely.

b) (New graph) Using the 7 days of the week as the horizontal axis and temperature as the vertical axis, plot the forecasted low temperatures as a line graph (connected dots.) On the same graph, plot the actual low temperatures as a line graph. Be sure to label completely.

c) (New graph) Using the actual high and low temperatures for the 7 days, find the average temperature for each day. Using the 7 days of the week as the horizontal axis and temperature as the vertical axis, plot the average temperatures for the week. Be sure to label completely.

Questions:

1. Compare the actual temperatures to the predicted temperatures for the first two graphs and discuss any trends observed. Explain you reasoning for each.

2. Looking at the third graph (average temperatures), do you see any trend for the week. Explain your reasoning.

3. Explain why this weather diary may or may not be useful for the same week next year.

4. Comparing the forecasted weather and the actual weather for the whole week, how would you rate the forecasting ability of the source you chose? Explain your reasoning.

Suggested Weather Sites:

The Weather Underground at https://allaplusessays.com/order

At the top left corner, type in your zip code or the zip code that you will observe for the week and after the local forecast is loaded in Internet Explorer, save this as a Favorite. I like this site as it is easy to click on “Yesterday’s Official Weather” to get the actual readings from the day before.

The Weather Channel at https://allaplusessays.com/order

Near the top, type in your zip code or the zip code that you will observe for the week and after the local forecast is loaded in Internet Explorer, save this as a Favorite. To see the current forecast for the next day, scroll down. To see yesterday’s actual readings, click on “Yesterday” in the yellow bar near the top (you may have to choose a different town as all reference points don’t collect temperature data.)

National Weather Service (NOAA) at https://allaplusessays.com/order

When the opening screen loads, click on Arkansas on the U.S. map. (If you are not doing this diary for some place in the continental U.S., this site won’t work well.) On the next screen, look below the map and choose a town (or the nearest one to you) and the seven day forecast will come up. To see what happened yesterday, you click on 2-day history, but the information is very detailed and hard to read.

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