Atmospheric scientists study weather processes, the global dynamics of climate, solar radiation and its effects, and the role of atmospheric chemistry in ozone depletion, climate change, and pollution. They observe what's going on in our atmosphere today and compare it to records from years past. To monitor the weather, atmospheric scientists use highly specialized instruments that measure rainfall, wind speed and direction, humidity, and atmospheric pressure. You can measure these at your home or school. Begin creating a weather station by building a psychrometer, also called a hygrometer, to measure the relative humidity.
Learn how Earth's climate effects soil types all over the planet.
Scientists collect data to understand Earth and how it changes. Quantitative data involves taking measurements, while qualitative data are observations and descriptions of phenomena. When it comes to climate, scientists try to collect as much and as many types of data as possible to be able to analyze how climate is changing and what effects it is having. Because climate affects all areas of the world, collecting this data is a large undertaking. This is where you can help.
How much of a danger does severe weather pose for the area where you live? You can compute the answer yourself in this exercise.
Think about the weather and environment where you live. Have you ever been in a strong storm? Have you ever experienced flooding, a wildfire, or really hot days? These types of environmental hazards are happening more often because of climate change. Even though these events can be scary, there is so much you can do in your own community to make it better able to handle these challenges. When we work together to protect our communities from environmental hazards, we are building community resilience.
In this activity, students will learn the pattern of major ocean currents and how they are changed by wind, land and water.
Ocean currents — the continuous, directed movement of ocean water — affect regional climates and alter the biological and chemical characteristics of seawater.
Learn about ocean currents and systems in this activity from NOAA.
Every two to seven years, trade-winds in the Pacific Ocean slow down or reverse their direction — no one is sure why. But when the trade winds slow down, everything changes. Water temperatures become warmer in the eastern Pacific and colder in the west. Nutrient upwelling slows, and fish populations become much smaller along the Pacific coast of South America. Rainfall follows the warmer water, causing flooding in Peru and drought in Indonesia and Australia. Because these changes can be highly destructive, advance warning of El Niño’s approach is important for emergency preparation. NOAA satellites are constantly collecting information on sea surface temperatures around the globe. NOAA also operates a network of buoys that measure temperature, currents, and winds in the tropical Pacific Ocean.