WASHINGTON CLIMATE INQUIRY
Print this handout for reference and work in pairs (if possible).
1. Begin at the home page of Live from Earth and Mars. (http://www-k12.atmos.washington.edu/k12/).
2. Click the "Earth" button to link to the Washington State climate and weather resources (http://www-k12.atmos.washington.edu/k12/grayskies/index.html).
3. Click the "Washington State climate information" link to get a map showing our diverse climatic regions.
3. Choose one of the regions by clicking on that region.
4. Choose one of the stations within a region by clicking on the desired station. A new window will open to display options and data. If you click the "zoom box" in the upper right corner of the window, you can expand the window to its maximum dimensions.
5. Explore the links in the upper frame, which offer various climate data in graphical or tabular formats. Familiarize yourself with the kinds of data that are available here. You will notice that the data represented in individual categories span different years; some of the climatic averages include a span of as many as 100 years, while others include only the 30-year averages.
6. Write down some questions that you have about the climate (not the weather, but the long term average conditions) at a station, in a region, or considering the state as a whole. Identify one of these questions that can be answered using data at this site.
For example, " I am curious about snowfall in the state. How does the snowfall vary around the state? How does snow depth relate to precipitation amount? It might be fun to know on which day it snows the most (climatologically speaking) at a given site. Does that vary for nearby stations? Looking at the list of available data, I see that I can get tabulated data for snowfall and precipitation amounts. So, I decide to focus on that for starters."
7. View the tabulated or graphical data you need to answer your question. Jot down some notes about your results. If you can't answer your question using these data to your satisfaction, then go back to the list you made in #6 and choose another question that is more closely related to the data available here.
8. Identify two additional questions that build on your first one. For example, "How does the relationship that I found in #6 above change if I choose another station or another region."
Return to the Climate of Washington State page to obtain data for another station or region. You may keep your current climate window open for comparison or you can simply close it by clicking the "close box" in the upper left corner, and you will return to the "Climate and Weather" page for the last region you clicked. If you wish to keep the current window open while you also look at another one, pull down under "Go" to the previous region or back another step (-Grayskies-...) to select another region.
Sample questions: Do other regions have different values for snowfall and precipitation amounts for the same time period? Is there a pattern to that relationship? Another related question might concern the temperature at the site for the same time period. Is the daily maximum above, or below, freezing? Hopefully, your investigation will lead to more questions (that's what keeps us scientists in business!).
9. What additional resources would help you to further your investigation above? List them.
10. Pull down the Directory menu and highlight "Internet Search" to try to find one of the resources you identified above. Type a keyword or title into the input box and then click "Search." Follow the most promising links.
11. Summarize your findings in 6-8 above. You can make some notes in your notepad, type them into a word processing file, or just organize them in your head.
12. Share the results of your explorations with another teacher. Include in your discussion how each of you might use this resource, or others that you have found, in your classroom.
13. Write some climate questions other people could investigate. Discuss the findings.
14. Ask questions to an "expert" you locate over the Internet.
© 1998 Live from Earth and Mars, Janice DeCosmo, and Rich Edgerton