Weather Plots

Here is a lesson dealing with plots of weather data. I found this data after browsing through the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)

John Meseke

Last updated 11/14/94

Subject: Math/Science

Grade Level: Middle School/High School

Instructional Goal: The goal of this activity is to observe the relationship between temperature and humidity.

Behavioral Objective: From looking at the graphs of the temperature and humidity, the students will determine that the two graphs are inversely proportional.

Materials: Weekly weather plot of temperature and humidity percentage of Boulder, Colorado; Microsoft Word; NCSA Mosaic.

How to Access Data: Data can be retrieved by using the software NCSA Mosaic at the Universal Resource Locator (URL). The address for the data set is given in the assessment activity below.

What Data Set Consists of: This data set consists of two curves of the flow of the temperature and the percent humidity for the past seven days at Boulder, Colorado. The temperature is given in Celsius.

How to Use: This data set can be used by having students visually see the relationship between temperature and humidity. The students can study the two curves and formulate a relationship between them.

Assessment Activity:

Here is the equation for humidity in the air:

% humidity = (dew point(F)/temperature(F)) * 100

where dew point is the temperature that water condenses out of the air. For the following questions, assume that dew point fluctuates very little throughout the day.

1. What happens to the temperature in the evening hours?

2. Would there be a high percentage of humidity in the air? Why or why not?

3. When is it usually the warmest time of the day?

4. Is humidity percentage high or low during this time of the day? Explain your answer.

5. Describe what you think happens to humidity throughout the day, from midnight to midnight.

Now we are going to go to NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research) on the Internet and look at the weekly plot of the temperature and humidity in Boulder, Colorado (the site of NCAR). The first plot shows the temperature (in Celsius) of the past seven days. Each vertical line is midnight of the following day. The second plot shows the humidity percentage of the past seven days.

To access this data set, use the software NCSA Mosaic or any other WWW browser at the Universal Resource Locator (URL)

Click on the boxes shown in order to see the weekly weather plots.

6. Describe the temperature for the past seven days (i.e., was it exceptionally warm? cool?). Explain how the temperature varied from day to day?

7. Were there any dramatic changes in the temperature throughout the week?

8. Describe the humidity for the past seven days (i.e., was it exceptionally high? low?). Explain how the humidity varied from day to day?

9. Look at the temperature curve during one day and the humidity curve during the same day. What is the relationship between the two curves? (hint: picture one curve on top of the other)

EXTRA CREDIT: What is the mathematical term for this relationship?