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Day 168: Global Warming Skepticism May 18, 2007

Posted by Admin in Homework, Meteorology.
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Yesterday’s video expressing the Global Warming Alarmist viewpoint (An Inconvenient Truth – read more yesterday’s class here) was one side of the global warming debate. Today, students watched the other viewpoint, as expressed in the documentary film “The Great Global Warming Swindle“.

You can watch the entire film online by going to the link at Google Videos: The Great Global Warming Swindle.

Now that students have notes from both films and both viewpoints, they are armed with the necessary information to begin their analysis of the films. Students have been assigned a paper to write about the two films. The opening of the paper should consist of two sections – one devoted to the thesis of each film. The paper will then close with a section devoted to the student’s own critical analysis of the global warming issue. This analysis should express their opinion and be backed by evidence. Students are also invited to discuss which explanations they found more convincing and why.

The completed paper is due in class on Tuesday, 05/22. See the links below for a wealth of information on each film and the assignment itself. Don’t forget you can email me with any questions you have while working on this project. See more links below.

Also made available today – the study guide for next week’s (Wednesday) test. We will review in class on Tuesday and I will host an after-school study session on Tuesday as well (3-4pm).


Climate Change Debate Project List of Links:

The Assignment:

An Inconvenient Truth:

The Great Global Warming Swindle:


Day 167: Global Warming Alarmism May 17, 2007

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inconvenient.jpgThe first day of our short unit on climate change was today and we started by discussing the global warming alarmist point of view.  Students were introduced to this viewpoint by watching part of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth”.  If students missed the video today, they can rent it locally or even purchase the DVD.  Students were to take detailed notes during the movie so they had information to draw from for the assignment.

Students were given the handout (Alarmist or Skeptic:  Instructions for Paper) that details the 2-page paper assignment that they are to complete for next week.  In this paper, they will be detailing the evidence that is explored in both today’s video and tomrorow’s video.  They will then evaluate both sides and express their own viewpoint, supported by evidence they ahve researched.  Be sure to read that handout carefully – this paper is an in-depth project that deserves careful attention to detail.

Tomorrow we’ll watch a video explaining the viewpoint of the global warming skeptic:  The Great Global Warming Swindle.  That video is available for legal viewing free online – I’ll post links tomorrow.

Day 166: Tornado Chasing May 16, 2007

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samaras.jpgWhile students worked to complete their Severe Weather Safety Trifold assignments (due Friday) in class today, they watched two very powerful tornado chase video clips. Both are from meteorologist Tim Samaras. He has pioneered recent research into the inner workings of tornadoes – their near environment. This includes wind speeds, temepratures, dew points, and the air pressure found inside and immediately surrounding the funnel of a tornado.

For several years, his work has been centered on this deployment of instrument and camera probes along roadsides and ditches that are about to be crossed by tornadoes. Samaras then goes back and retrieves these probes to study the video and instrument data. His research is unparalleled and promises to give scientists a much better understanding of the tornadic environment.

One video clip was of his deployment and analysis of data from a tornado in Storm Lake, IA on June 11, 2004.  That deployment was the first of its kind and is still being studied today.  The second video clip we watched in class was of the Manchester, SD F-4 tornado of  June 24, 2003.

Read much more about Tim Samaras and his research on this National Geographic Channel site.

Day 165: Tornado Safety May 15, 2007

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Where is the best place to take shelter from a tornado?  Without a doubt, it is below ground.  Whenever a below-ground shelter is available, such as a storm cellar or basement, that is your best bet.  We went on to discuss other considerations in class today, from what to do if you don’t have a basement to what to do if you are caught outside or in a car.

We discussed at great length why a highway overpass is a bad place to seek shelter.  A very widespread misconception was spread by the Andover, KS tornado of 04/26/1991 when a family took shelter beneath an overpass and survived.  Since then, countless people have died when they sought shelter in those locations, only to be swept away by the storm.

There is a great online presentation that has been put together by a team of meteorologists from the National Weather Service office in Norman, OK seeking to dispell this horrible misconception.  This presentation was developed following the deaths of several people that sought shelter under overpasses during the May 3, 1999 OKC tornado oubreak.  The multimedia presentation includes the facts, the images, and some animations showing exactly why this is so risky.  View the entire presentation:  Highway Overpass as Tornado Shelters:  Fallout from the May 3, 1999 Oklahoma City Tornado Outbreak.

Day 164: Tornadoes! May 14, 2007

Posted by Admin in Meteorology.

tornado.jpg[Note:  For a larger, higher-resolution copy of the image to the right, visit meteorologynews.com].  Click the image for more info.

Also, this homework website is no longer updated – visit the new one at MyScienceHomework.com.

In wrapping up our severe weather safety unit, we covered the most sensational, devastating severe weather threat that exists in Kansas: Tornadoes. We discussed the Greensburg tornado, as well as viewed a short video clip shot by some storm chasers in Oklahoma just last week.

Today’s focus was on how tornadoes form – from the necessary ingredients of warm moist air, wind sheer, and a thunderstorm with a strong updraft. When these pieces are brought together in just the right mix, a tornado can and will develop. We then discussed some of the safety rules when it comes to taking shelter from a tornado. Tomorrow we’ll continue on tornado safety and begin work on the Severe Weather Safety tri-fold brochure project (due Friday).

The photograph to the right is a fascinating one. This picture of a tornado and lightning stroke over Lake Okeechobee was taken at about 10 PM on June 15, 1991. The photograph was taken by Mr. Fred Smith. If it hadn’t been for the Lightning at the same time as the pic was shot, you would never have seen the massive tornado funnel already on the ground. When you hear a nighttime tornado warning for your area, take cover because most of the time you will never see it coming.

Day 163: Forecasting Quiz May 11, 2007

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After some more discussion of the causes and risks of severe thunderstorms, students completed an open-note quiz over weather forecasting techniques.  This 10-question quiz covers the topics that they learned during the online weather forecasting exercises from earlier in the week.

Following completion of the quiz, the quiz along with the three-page weather forecasting packets were turned in for grading.  Next week we will wrap up the severe weather safety unit and move on to the last unit of the year:  Climate Change.

Day 162: Severe Weather Basics May 10, 2007

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In starting our week-long unit on severe weather basics and safety, we started with defining and contrasting the two main types of severe weather alerts:  watches and warnings.  We then discussed the six major types of severe weather:  Floods, Thunderstorms, Tornadoes, Hurricanes, Ice Storms, and Blizzards.  We only went into detail on Flooding today – tomorrow we’ll continue by discussing thunderstorms – next week; tornadoes.

Remember – forecasting packets are due tomorrow and there will be a quiz over that material tomorrow too!

Day 161: Weather Forecasting May 9, 2007

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In the culmination of a three-day unit on weather forecasting, students completed the third of three handouts (3. Weather Forecasting) intended to be used with online access in class today.  These handouts will be compiled and turned in as a packet (all three in one place) to be turned in on Friday.

Today’s objectives:

  • Explain various tools used by meteorologists to forecast the weather
  • Explore various online forecasting resources available to the general public (see “Weather Links” tab at the top of this page)
  • Forecast the weather for Kansas for tomorrow

On that day, we will have a quiz in class covering the content of each of the three pages.  Don’t forget to bring the packet to class on Friday!

Day 160: Radar & Satellite May 8, 2007

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radardome.jpgIn day two of our online weather forecasting unit, students completed the second (2. Radar and Satellite) handout which covered the following objectives:

  • Describe how weather radar and satellites operate
  • Describe how weather imagery can help meteorologists forecast weather
  • Utilize weather radar and satellite output to help describe the current weather

This handout, like the one from yesterday, will be turned in as part of a 3-page packet that is due, in total, on Friday. That day we will have a quiz covering the material on the three handouts.

Remember, if you did not complete today’s handout in class, you should plan to come in before school (7:30-8:00) or complete it by going to the public library or you may use your own computer at home if you have internet access.

Day 159: Station Models May 7, 2007

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In the first of three days we will spend on the online weather forecasting unit, students were introduced to the “station model” format of plotting weather data on a map.  They completed the (1.  Station Models) handout on how to decode the station plot as well as how to sketch their own based on a table of “current conditions” information.

For those who did not complete the page in class, the “Weather Tabs” link at the top of this page will get you to the list of all of the links you need to complete the handout.