Grade 8 Social Studies Weather and Climate Value: 10% Objective In this experiment you will investigate patterns and variations (changes) of weather and climate in your local area by comparing historical weather data for your city. Introduction What is the difference between climate and weather? Weather is very dynamic, and may change many times from day to day or from season to season. Changes in weather take place over a relatively short period of time, like hours or days. A sudden thunderstorm, a blizzard, or a hot day are all examples of weather. Climate, on the other hand, is historically very stable, and describes weather patterns of many years in a particular region. Climatic change takes place over long periods of time, like several years or decades. Some types of climatic changes occur over even longer periods of time, like hundreds, thousands, or even millions of years. In fact the Great Ice Age is one example of a period of climatic change. In this experiment you will investigate the difference between weather and climate by using a historical weather database. How are changes in weather and climate measured? By tracking changes in temperature from month-to-month and year-to-year, you can test for patterns in weather and climate. Which is the most dynamic? Which is the most stable? Terms, Concepts and Questions to Start Background Research To do this type of experiment you should know what the following terms mean. Have an adult help you search the Internet, or take you to your local library to find out more! climate weather temperature season degrees Fahrenheit (°F) degrees Celsius (°C) weather station Bibliography In this experiment we will use a free online database to search for historical weather data. You can find almost any type of weather information at this site, including radar and satellite images, astronomical data and star charts, storm warnings, forecasts and more! Check it out: www.weathernetwork.ca When you hear a storm advisory on your TV or radio, it comes from Environment Canada. Environment Canada provides weather data and storm advisories for floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards and thunderstorms across Canada. See a real satellite image of weather over Canada: www.weatheroffice.ec.gc.ca Materials and Equipment computer with Internet connection pencil and paper for recording data Experimental Procedure 1. You will be using the Internet to look up historical temperature data from your local area, so grab a pencil and paper to write down your data. 2. Now, get on your computer, connect to the Internet and open up your Web browser. 3. Type the URL, or Web address, for "The Weather Network" website into the navigation bar: www.weathernetwork.ca 4. Under “City Search” in the top left-hand corner. Type in Chester, NS and press the “Enter” key. 5. Research the average temperature for the calendar months during the years 20012005 and record them in the table below. 6. At the bottom of your screen you will see a Historical Data bar. Enter the month and year you are researching and click “Submit”. Record the “MEAN TEMP” in your table above. 7. After you collect data from each month and year, you are ready to make graphs and to look for any trends. You will want to make at least two types of graphs. Choose a year and graph the temperatures for each month of that year. Choose a month and graph all of the temperatures for each year of data. 8. Has the average temperature for your area decreased or increased over the years? Has the average temperature fluctuated or remained constant from month-tomonth or year-to-year? Are there any recurring patterns or cycles? Do these changes reflect changes in weather or climate? Average Temperature for Each Calendar Month During the Years 2001-2005: 2005 January February March April May June July August September October November December 2004 2003 2002 2001 Additional Questions: On a piece of looseleaf answer the following questions neatly: Try using your data to identify the four seasons. Do the different season's show different temperature changes in your local area? Which seasons are more stable, and which seasons fluctuate? What historical trends do you see? Are the cycles of the season's more similar to weather or to climate? This experiment relies on the accuracy of your local weather station, and the reliability of data posted on the Internet. How do you think that temperature data you collect on your own would compare to your local weather station? Have you ever lived somewhere else, or does someone you know live far away from you? Try comparing weather data from two different places on the same dates. How do the local climates compare? Do the two locations have the same weather patterns and seasons? Did this year seem unusually rainy, or snowy, or dry? Sometimes, weather can be unusual compared to the average, or normal, weather history and can set a historical record. Use the Internet to research unusual weather history in your area. What year was there a drought, record rainfall with flooding, or a severe blizzard?