# Making a Climograph: GLOBE Data Explorations

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1 Making a Climograph: A GLOBE Data Exploration Purpose Students learn how to construct and interpret climographs and understand how climate differs from weather. Overview Students calculate and graph maximum and minimum temperature averages and monthly precipitation totals for each month of a year, then compare their graph to a 30- year climograph for the same approximate area. Students gain an understanding of why at least 30 years of weather data are necessary to describe the climate of a region. Student Outcomes Students will be able to: Calculate weather averages and totals in order to construct a one-year climate graph summarizing monthly maximum and minimum temperature averages and precipitation totals. Understand the value and purpose of 30-year climographs to determine a location s climate. Science Concepts Earth Systems Science Weather and Climate Weather can be described with quantitative measurements Science Practices Analyzing and interpreting data Time Two class periods (100 minutes) Level Middle school (grades 6-8) Materials and Tools Reading: Weather and Climate Student Activity Sheet A Student Activity Sheet B Student Activity Sheet C Long Beach Data (pages 8-19) Colored pencils 12 calculators Rulers Preparation Print the reading and Student Activity Sheets A, B, and C for each student. Print the Long Beach Data (pages 8-19) single-sided and assign one page to each student pair or group. Prerequisites Familiarity with basic mathematics such as calculating means and sums Familiarity with building basic graphs, charts, and tables Familiarity with metric measurement units (temperature and distance) Background Weather refers to the day-to-day atmospheric conditions in an area over a short period of time from seconds to weeks. Climate is the weather of a place averaged over a longer period of time (typically over 30 years). Climate refers to statistical averages of temperature, precipitation, and other aspects of the atmosphere. Climographs (also called climatographs) are a graphic way of describing how temperature and precipitation vary through the year at a GLOBE 2016 Make a Climograph 1

3 they made with 2004 data on Activity Sheet B with the climograph that uses 30 years of data on Student Activity Sheet C. Have students answer the questions on Student Activity Sheet C individually in preparation for a class discussion. Step 5. Class discussion Discuss as a class whether one year of weather data can accurately convey the climate of a specifi location. Have students summarize what they learned. Ask students how missing data and extreme weather events affect a one year climograph. Credits This activity is part of GLOBE Data Explorations, a collection of activities developed by the UCAR Center for Science Education (scied.ucar.edu), a GLOBE Partner. Activities were reviewed by science educators and staff at GIO and field tested by teachers. Assessment The graph on Student Activity Sheet B will indicate whether students understand the format of a climograph. The answers on Student Activity Sheet C will indicate whether students understand the reason for averaging many years of weather data to understand climate of a location. Extensions: Delve Deeper into GLOBE Data Have students follow this activity with the Weather Tourists activity from this series of. Have students collect min/max air temperature and precipitation data using the GLOBE Atmosphere Protocols and compare a year of their data to a 30-year climograph for your location. Have students create a climate graph with monthly temperature averages and precipitation totals for their city/town or another location of interest. Students can use their own GLOBE temperature and precipitation data for their school in a given year, data from another GLOBE school, or long-term data from locations specified via the GLOBE website. Additional sites with 30-year climographs for comparison purposes with annual climate graphs can be found at the web site for the US Drought Mitigation Center. GLOBE 2016 Make a Climograph 3

4 Make a Climograph Reading: Weather and Climate Weather refers to the variations in atmospheric conditions in an area over a short period of time from seconds to weeks. For example, if it is forecast to be sunny and warm tomorrow, that s weather. Some days are hotter, colder, wetter, or windier. Weather is variable. It changes day-to-day and even hour-to-hour. Climate is the weather of a place averaged over a longer period of time. Climate is the probability of certain weather on any given time of the year. For example, if it is usually sunny and warm during August in San Diego, California, that s climate. Climate describes what is usual. To understand the climate of a location, scientists average 30 years of daily weather measurements. Thirty years, with 365 days in each year that s 10,950 measurements of daily high temperature, 10,950 measurements of daily low temperature, and 10,950 measurements of precipitation like rain or snow all to figure out what s typical for a place. Climographs (also called climatographs) are graphs of average temperature and precipitation that describe the climate of a place. A climograph shows two different types of information on the same graph. Take a look at the sample climographs below. Notice that on the x-axis (horizontal) are the months of the year. This is not for a particular year but, rather, an average. Notice that there are two y-axis scales. On the left side is precipitation (in millimeters) and on the right side is temperature ( Celcius). The bar graph shows the amount of precipitation each month. The line graph show the average temperature each month. Some climographs include line graphs for both average high and low temperature. Buenos Aries, Argentina Saskatoon, Canada Climographs courtesy of the National Drought Mitigation Center (U.S.) GLOBE 2016 Make a Climograph 4

5 Make a Climograph Student Activity Sheet A Name Long Beach, New York, is an oceanfront community located on an island along Long Island s south shore on the East Coast of the United States. Long Beach is located only 40 km from the center of New York City, so it s convenient beach to visit for people who live in the city. NY CT MA RI Your assignment is to explore atmospheric data to learn what sort of weather to expect during a visit to Long Beach, New York, at different times of the year. The atmospheric data was collected by students at Long Beach High School s NIKE Environmental Center in 2004 as part of the GLOBE Program. It s just one year of data, but it can tell you a lot about what the weather is like at different times of year. PA New York, NY Long Beach, NY NJ Atlantic Ocean You will calculate annual precipitation totals and mean monthly maximum and minimum Then you will make a one-year climograph for Long Beach. Monthly Totals: Add a month s precipitation in millimeters (mm). Record the number in the appropriate row (month) in the table below. Monthly Temperatures: Add the daily maximum temperatures for each day of a month, and divide the sum by the number of measurements made that month. Record the number in the table below. Monthly Temperatures: Add the daily minimum temperatures for each day of a month, and divide the sum by the number of measurements made that month. Record the number in the table below. Month Monthly Totals Monthly Temperatures Monthly Temperatures January February March April May June July August September October November December GLOBE 2016 Make a Climograph 5

6 Make a Climograph Student Activity Sheet B Name Part D: Make a one-year climograph. You ll need: three colored pencils (one light color and two darker colors), a ruler, and the graph template below. 1. Make a bar graph below with the monthly precipitation totals that you recorded on Student Activity Sheet A on the graph below. Make each bar the width of the dotted lines and color it in with a light colored pencil. Color the precipitation square in the key with the color you used for the bar graph. 2. Choose a darker colored pencil and make a dot on the graph to represent the average maximum temperature for each month as you recorded on Student Activity Sheet A. Use your ruler to make sure each dot is in line with the name of the month. Connect the dots. Color in the key for average high temperature with the colored pencil. 3. With a different shade of colored pencil, make a dot for the average minimum temperature for each month using the values from Student Activity Sheet A. Connect the dots. Color in the key for average low temperature with the colored pencil. Long Beach, New York (U.S.) Climograph (Made with 2004 GLOBE data) precipitation (mm) temperature ( C) Jan Feb March April May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Key average high temperature average low temperature total monthly precipitation 4. Compare your one-year climate graph to others in your class to ensure that that they look similar. Identify the reason for any differences between graphs. GLOBE 2016 Make a Climograph 6

7 Make a Climograph Student Activity Sheet C Name Long Beach, New York (U.S.) Climograph (Made with NOAA data from ) This is a climograph for Long Beach, NY, made with 30 years of weather data. Compare it to the graph you made using 2004 data. precipitation (mm) temperature ( C) Jan Feb March April May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec Key average high temperature average low temperature total monthly precipitation 1. How are the graphs similar? 2. How are the graphs different? 3. Make a hypothesis about the biggest difference that you see. 4. Can a one-year climate graph convey the climate of a location? GLOBE 2016 Make a Climograph 7

8 January January January January January January January January January January January January January January January January January no data no data no data 17 January January January January January January January January January January January January January January January no data no data no data GLOBE 2016 Make a Climograph 8

9 February February February February February February February February February February February February February February February February February February February February no data no data no data 20 February no data no data no data 21 February February February February February February February February February GLOBE 2016 Make a Climograph 9

10 March March March March March March March March March March March no data no data no data 11 March March March March March March March March March March March March March March March March March March March March March GLOBE 2016 Make a Climograph 10

11 April April April April April no data no data no data 5 April April April April April April April April April April April April April April April April April April April no data no data no data 24 April April April no data no data no data 27 April no data no data no data 28 April April April GLOBE 2016 Make a Climograph 11

12 May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May May GLOBE 2016 Make a Climograph 12

13 June June June June June June June June June June June June June June June June June June June no data no data no data 19 June no data no data no data 20 June no data no data no data 21 June no data no data no data 22 June no data no data no data 23 June no data no data no data 24 June June no data no data no data 26 June no data no data no data 27 June June June June GLOBE 2016 Make a Climograph 13

14 July July July July July July July July no data no data no data 8 July no data no data no data 9 July July July July July July July July July July July July July July July July July July July July July July July GLOBE 2016 Make a Climograph 14

15 August August August August August August August August August August August August August August August August August August August August August August August August August August August August August August August August no data no data no data GLOBE 2016 Make a Climograph 15

16 September September September September September September September September September September September September September September September September September September September September September September no data no data no data 22 September September September September September September September no data no data no data 29 September no data no data no data 30 September GLOBE 2016 Make a Climograph 16

17 October October October October October October October October October October October October no data no data no data 12 October October October October October October October October October October October October October October October October October October October October no data no data no data GLOBE 2016 Make a Climograph 17

18 November November November November November November November November November November November November November November November November November November no data no data no data 18 November November November November November no data no data no data 23 November no data no data no data 24 November November November November November November November no data no data no data GLOBE 2016 Make a Climograph 18

19 December December December no data no data no data 3 December December December no data no data no data 6 December December December December December December December December December December no data no data no data 16 December December no data no data no data 18 December December December December December December December December December December December December December December GLOBE 2016 Make a Climograph 19

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