Back in the days of Christopher Columbus, voyages made across bodies of water were dependent upon winds and currents to drive the sailing ships. Thus good navigation routes were often determined by prevailing weather conditions such as the Trade Winds, and then discovered by explorers. In this lesson, students will explore the wind climatology for the Atlantic Ocean basin (as determined by satellite data from the past ten years), and then compare it to the route documented by Columbus in 1492.
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This lesson uses NASA satellite data to contrast amounts of cloud coverage over different climate regions in Africa. An an outcome of the lesson, the student will be able to explain how Earth's major air circulations affect global weather patterns and relate local weather patterns to climate as well as identify different climate regions. Students will also describe conditions for cloud formation along the Equator. They will access data and import it into Excel. This lesson emphasizes that clouds are collections of water vapor in the atmosphere and that moisture collects in the atmosphere due to the evaporation of water. Thus evaporation plays an essential role in the water cycle. Students are asked to determine if the Hadley Cell affects weather for two cities (Aswan, Egypt and Kampala, Uganda). They graph the data to see if it indicates which city would have more rainfall and then draw conclusions about climate regions in these areas.