Sep 302010

Around this time of year I like to teach the essentials of weather forecasting to Year 8. I always cover the basics of the relationship between air pressure and weather; the objective being to arrive at a point where students can create their own forecasts using the BBC synoptic chart as their sole source of information. The pressure chart is available from the tab above the map, and the isobars can be animated through a four day prediction, allowing the students to make multiple forecasts.

Originally I used a web page from Juicy Geography as a weather studio background, but happily there are now better alternatives. The most recent one I’ve come across, via GMM, is a Google Earth based  interactive weather map background.

I’ve tried to work out who the developer is, so I can thank them, but I haven’t had any success yet. It appears to be a work in progress, and I can’t figure out how the option to add your own logo works.  Undoubtedly it’s a very useful classroom tool, especially in conjunction with a pocket video camera. Once the symbols have been added to the map, it will play through an animated tour of the UK, forcing students to make very concise reports in a limited amount of time.

The live weather layer in Google Earth, with the real time cloud and rainfall display, provides an additional source of data for making close-range forecasts of the next few hours. Here’s how to find it:

This year I’ll get students to complete two forecasts, both short and long range, and as usual, I’ll film them, ready to play back the recording on the day of their predictions. Students do find this an interesting and rewarding experience.