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This Topic in Depth explores the science behind predicting the weather. First, the United States Search and Rescue Task Force describe the basic tools and knowledge used to create weather forecasts (1). Students can find concise, clear explanations of weather, fronts and air masses, high and low pressure, precipitation, and water vapor and humidity as well. By performing the activities presented in the second website, fourth grade students can learn about weather instruments and data collection (2). This website, produced by the Government of Saskatchewan, also explores how the weather can impact local communities. Third, Edheads offers a Macromedia Flash Player enhanced interactive module allowing students to predict the weather by examining weather maps (3 ). Through this website, users can become familiar with the concepts of warm and cold fronts, wind direction and speed, air pressure, and humidity. The fourth website, supplied by Annenberg / CPB, discusses weather satellites, Doppler radar, and additional tools forecasters use to predict the weather (4). Students can find a wind chill calculator along with a brief discussion of the history of forecasting and weather lore. Next, NOAA provides graphics for five forecast models: the ETA, the Global Forecast System (GFS), the Wave Watch III (WW3), the Nested Grid model (NGM), and the Rapid Update Cycle (RUC) (5). Outputs are available for North America, North Pacific, Western North Atlantic, and the Polar Ice Drift. Users can find links to detailed descriptions of the inputs and history of each model. Sixth, the British government's Met Office describes numerical modeling and its components (6). Students and educators can learn about the future in forecasting as well as educational opportunities with the Cooperative Program for Meteorology, Education, and Training (COMET).
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