Real World Learning Objects: Educational Technology

Use Excel to create a Climatogram
INSTRUCTIONS
A climatogram is a chart commonly used to graphically display both annual average temperature (highs, lows, and averages) and precipitation information for a city or region. Generally, it is based on 30 or more years of data. It has both bars and lines plotted on two vertical axes (y axes) using annual temperature and precipitation data with a single horizontal axis (x axis) displaying time labeled with each month of the year. Both axes, typically precipitation on the left and temperature on the right, have numerical values in degrees Fahrenheit or Celsius and inches or millimeters of precipitation that generally do not match.

For this RWLO, you will download real climate data from your location using the Internet and use Microsoft Excel or similar spreadsheet program to create a climatogram. Once completed, you will make a recommendation regarding the "best" and "worst" time of the year to visit your city.

  1. Practice using a Climatogram: Rio de Janeiro
    Climatograms
    are frequently included in travel books and tourism brochures so interested visitors can select the "best" time of year to visit a certain location. Look at the climatogram for Rio de Janeiro. The blue bars graph correspond to the average monthly precipitation in inches and are plotted along the Primary left Y-axis. The line graphs correspond to the average monthly high (red), mean (orange), and low (yellow) temperatures in degrees Fahrenheit (F). Based on the chart, answer the following questions:
    1. Which month or months do you think are the "best" time of year to visit Rio de Janeiro    ? Why?
    2. Which month or months do you think are the "worst"  time of year to visit Rio de Janeiro? Why?
       
  2. Create a Climatogram for your City
    1. Download the Excel spreadsheet: This spreadsheet has already been formatted for you. You will use this empty spreadsheet to create a climatogram for your city.
    2. Locate your City: Follow the directions below to locate your city.
      1. Go to The Weather Channel web site (www.weather.com).
      2. Enter the name of your city or zip code in the "Local Forecast" and click the "Go" button. If you are not redirected to the exact location, select your city from choices listed.
      3. Scroll down below the Doppler Radar image to the "10-Day Forecast" table and click the "Averages & Records" button.
      4. You should now see a bar chart for the "Monthly Averages for [Your City]". Just below the chart, scroll down until you see a table that lists the Months, Avg. High, Avg. Low, Mean, Avg. Precip., etc.
      5. Verify that the radio button for "English Units" is selected and proceed to the next step.
         
    3. Enter the Data: You will now enter the monthly averages from the weather web site for your city into the Excel spreadsheet as in the sample table below. Do not enter the units of measurements (F, in., etc.), just the numerical values. Also, don't forget to change "YOUR CITY" to the name of your city.

Enter the Data

  1. Create your Climatogram: Once you've entered all of the data in the excel spreadsheet, PRINT and carefully review the following step-by-step instructions for How to Create a Climatogram. This help file describes how to create a climatogram using Microsoft Excel.
  1. Analyze your Climatogram
    Based on your graph, answer the following questions:
    1. Which month or months do you think are the "best" time of year to visit your city? Why?
    2. Which month or months do you think are the "worst"  time of year to visit your city? Why?
    3. Meteorologists and climatologists use climatograms to better understand the general climate of a region. How do graphs help to communicate information and make data easier to understand?
       
  2. Extra-Credit
    1. Add Record High and Record Low temperature lines using the climate data from the weather web site to your climatogram.

 

Copyright 2005 Stevens Institute of Technology
Center for Innovation in Engineering & Science Education, All Rights Reserved