Weather Scope

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Overview:
For this activity, you are going to compare weather data between inland and coastal cities to determine how land & water differences affect temperature and complete a short laboratory comparing the heating rates soil and water. At the end of this activity, you will apply your results to develop an understanding how local geography influences the temperature of a region.

Materials:
  • Weather Learning Log or Student Worksheet
  • Part 1: Coastal vs. Inland
  • Part 2: Heat Capacity of the Earth's Surfaces
    • 2 clear narrow glasses or beakers
    • 2 thermometers
    • Equal samples of soil and fresh (tap) water
    • Heat source (e.g. lamp, etc.)
    • Watch or clock with second hand

Instructions:
Part 1: Coastal vs. Inland
  1. Locate and mark the following locations on a map of Peru.
Location Latitude Altitude (m) Location High Temperature (C)
Tumbes 3.5 S 25 Coast  
Iquitos 3.8 S 125 Inland  
Yurimaguas 5.9 S 179 Inland  
Chiclayo 6.8 S 29 Coast  
Trujillo 8.1 S 26 Coast  
Pucallpa 8.4 S 148 Inland  
Chimbote 9.2 S 20 Coast  
Atalaya 10.7 S 450 Inland  
Callao 12.0 S 12 Coast  
Lima 12.1 S 12 Coast  
Puerto Maldonado 12.6 S 265 Inland  
  1. Which location do you think will have the highest temperature? the lowest? Why?
  2. Access the following link and select each of the cities and record the high temperature for today's forecast.
    NOTE: Since these are real time weather readings, the weather stations for each of the locations may submit the current temperatures to the weather web site at different times during the day, and therefore you should only compare the high temperature readings for today's forecast.
  3. Do you notice any trends? Which cities tend to have warmer temperatures? colder temperatures? Describe what you see.
  4. Calculate the average temperature for the inland and coastal cities.
  5. Draw a bar graph comparing the two. Label the x-axis Coastal and Inland and the y-axis in C.
  6. Why do you think one of the locations was on average warmer or colder than the other?
  7. Based on your observations above, do you think soil or water will heat up faster? why?

Part 2: Heat Capacity of the Earth's Surfaces
  1. Copy the following data table into your Weather Learning Log:
Time (min.) Soil Temperature (C) Water Temperature (C)
Start    
1    
2    
3    
4    
5    
6    
7    
8    
9    
10    
  1. Fill the two clear narrow glasses / beakers with equal volumes of water (at room temperature) and soil and place the thermometers in each at equal depths and locations. Note: the thermometers should be suspended so as not to touch the bottom or sides of the glasses and should be covered by a minimum of .5 cm.
  2. Arrange the glasses / beakers at equal distances beneath the heat sources and record the initial temperatures of the soil and water in your data table.
  3. Turn on the heat source and record your measurements every minute for 10 minutes.
  4. Draw one graph containing two line graphs comparing the change in Soil Temperature and the change in Water Temperature over Time. Label the x-axis from 0 - 10 minutes and the y-axis in C. Don't forget to label each of the lines to distinguish between the two graphs.
  5. Do you notice any trends? which had the greatest increase in temperature?
  6. What would you expect to observe if you recorded the temperature over time as the water and soil cool down? Why?
  7. Calculate the total change in temperature for the soil and water.

Part 3: Analyze the Data
  1. Based on the experiment you just completed, what conclusions can you make about which material heated up faster?
  2. Which material do you expect would cool off faster if you recorded the temperature after you turned the heat source off? why?
  3. What do you think is responsible for the differences in temperature between the coastal cities and the Inland cities? why?
  4. How do your observations from the two experiments compare with your hypothesis?

Homework
  1. List at least one additional factor that might influence the temperatures of the cities. Describe how you might measure it.
  2. Based on your analysis and assuming all other weather factors remained constant (same latitude, etc.), which of the two cities below would have a more moderate temperature? why?
    • Huacho (Latitude: 11.1 S, Elevation: 67m, Location: Coast)
    • Esperanza (Latitude: 9.8 S, Elevation: 253m, Location: Inland)

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