"Cool" Weather Destinations?

Article excerpt





[Editor's note: URLs for Web sites mentioned in this article appear in the sidebar on page 48.]

When bees to distance wing their flight

Days are warm

Skies are bright

Wisdom? Fact? Or fanciful rhyme? Predicting the weather has challenged man from the beginning of time. Today, sophisticated instrumentation, satellite imagery, and instantaneous communication allow meteorologists to issue weather warnings before disaster strikes. Still, on some days it seems easier just to look outside your window. So, what do we really know about weather, and how does science help us to understand it better? Fly with CyberBee...to "cool" weather Web sites.

Radar on and wings aloft,

CyberBee has taken off.

To find amazing weather clues,

And bring them back for us to use,

In school reports or just for fun,

Our exciting journey has just begun.


Do woolly worms and nut-gathering squirrels give us hints to the long winter ahead? Is there science behind these sayings? Download the Weather Folklore lesson from Athena and find out. While exploring weather proverbs from online sources and books, students are posed with questions to help them think about the relationship between weather and their own daily experiences. A culminating activity has students formulate theories on why humans have been preoccupied with understanding, predicting, and trying to control the weather. The lesson includes a bibliography and hyperlinks to Web sites such as the Old Farmer's Almanac and Eric Sloane's Weather Sayings of the Old Sailors.

Another cool destination is the Weather Wisdom Fortune Cookie sponsored by WSFO, the Weather Service Forecast Office, in Louisville, Kentucky. Each time the page is reloaded, a random proverb is displayed. The opening rhyme of this article, for example, came from this collection.


El Paso National Weather Service has created interactive programs that will allow your students to work with a variety of temperature, moisture, and pressure conversions. What is equally challenging for your high school computer gurus are the CGI (Common Gateway Interface) scripts that make the page interactive. Students can dig through these scripts to find the formulas.

Download CONVERT, a program created by Mike Callahan at WSFO in Louisville, Kentucky. This nifty weather gizmo runs on the Windows platform. It will convert or calculate various meteorological parameters, including wind chill and heat index, convert to and from knots to mph, to and from inches to millibars, to and from Celsius to Farenheight. It will also calculate relative humidity.


Many national and local news sources post five-day forecasts, maps, and weather-related stories. You may want to browse these services to see what they have to offer. Illustrated animations, graphics, and text on "How the Weather Works" from USA Today might be used to introduce specific topics such as air masses, El Nino, or meteorological measurements. The National Weather Service has an Interactive Weather Information Network that dispatches the latest weather warnings and links to QuickTime movies of past events.

Journey to the Weather Underground and you will discover all kinds of information from a fast forecast to live weather cam shots from cities across the country. Ski reports and travel conditions are a mouse-click away. If you are looking for weather software, an extensive list of freeware and shareware for Macintosh, DOS, and Windows is listed in the WeatherNet section. Download Blue Skies (Macintosh or Windows) to examine maps and historical events in weather history. For a more limited selection, click on the Web-based Java version.

An assortment of interactive Web sites has emerged that gives you choices of what information you want to retrieve. …