Labels

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Lab #9 – Tracking Hurricanes

Lab #9 – Tracking Hurricanes

Hurricanes are classified according to the Saffir-Simpson Scale, which categorizes the storms from one to five depending on sustained wind speed, height of storm surge, and extent of damage. Some of the specifics for each hurricane category are listed in Table 1. The National Weather Service issues a hurricane watch when there is a threat of hurricane conditions within 24 to 36 hours. They issue a hurricane warning if hurricane conditions are expected within 24 hours.

Problem

How are hurricanes tracked?

Hypothesis





Materials

Pencil
Atlantic Basin Hurricane Tracking Chart found at http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/AT_Track_chart.pdf

Procedure

Part a—Historical Hurricanes

  1. Familiarize yourself with the classifications of hurricanes according to the Saffir-Simpson Scale in Table 1.
  2. Read about some major hurricanes of the past, which are described in the Data and Observations section, and watch the 2012 Hurricane Sandy Video.
  3. Use the Saffir-Simpson Scale to classify each of the historical hurricanes described in the Data and Observations section. Write the category number in the space provided next to each description.

Part B—Hurricane Tracking

  1. Use the data in Table 2 to plot the course of a hurricane. Start by plotting the storm's location on Day 1 on the Hurricane Tracking Chart in Figure 1.Mark the hurricane's location with a dot, and label it as Day 1.
  2. Considering only wind speed, classify the storm as a tropical storm or a hurricane. If the wind speed is less than 119 km/h, consider it a tropical storm. If the wind speed is 119 km/h or more, use the Saffir-Simpson Scale to decide what category describes the hurricane on this day. Write your observations in Table 2.
  3. Plot the storm's location at Day 2, label the dot, and connect the two dots with a straight line. Classify the storm as described in step 2.
  4. Consider that you are a forecaster with the National Weather Service. You must issue a hurricane warning to any land 24 hours before the center of a hurricane passes over it. Decide if you should issue a warning on Day 2. If yes, what areas would you warn? Write your observations in Table 2.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 for the storm's duration.

Part A

Data and Observations

  1. ____ Hurricane Fran moved into North Carolina's southern coast in September 1996. Total damages from the hurricane exceeded $5 billion. Hurricane Fran had sustained winds of approximately 184 km/h and gusts as high as 200 km/h.
  1. ____ The Halloween Storm of 1991 has been called the "perfect storm." It packed sustained winds of 120 km/h.
  1. ____ Hurricane Bertha pounded the southeast coastline as well as the Bahamas in July 1996. The storm had winds peaking at 184 km/h.
  1. ____ When Hurricane Andrew slammed southern Florida in August 1992, it was the most costly natural disaster in United States history, with about $26 billion in damage. The storm killed 26 people and destroyed more than 25,000 homes. Its wind speeds are now thought to have reached up to 265 km/h.
 5. ____ Hurricane Celia hit Texas in August 1970, causing $1.6 billion in damage. The storm was characterized by very high winds that damaged an airport and destroyed a nearby mobile home park. Its highest estimated wind speed was around 257 km/h.
  1. ____ Hurricane Camille, which hit the Gulf Coast and then swerved east toward the Carolinas in August 1969, was the fifth most costly disaster in United States history with damages of $5.2 billion. Camille caused the death of 250 people. Its sustained wind speeds reached 320 km/h.
  1. ____ Hurricane Katrina, which devastated New Orleans in 2005 was the costliest hurricane, as well as one of the five deadliest, in the history of the United States. Among recorded Atlantic hurricanes, it was the sixth strongest overall.  Katrina made landfall Aug. 29 with top sustained wind of about 201 km/h.
8.       ____ Hurricane Irene, made its final landfall in Brooklyn, New York City in 2011.  Throughout its path, Irene caused widespread destruction and at least 56 deaths. Damage estimates throughout the United States are estimated near $15.6 billion.  Its highest winds reached 120 mph (195 km/h).
       9. ____ Hurricane Sandy affected 24 states in the U.S., including the entire eastern seaboard from Florida to Maine and west across the Appalachian Mountains to Michigan and Wisconsin, with particularly severe damage in New Jersey and New York. Its storm surge hit New York City on October 29, 2012, flooding streets, tunnels and subway lines and cutting power in and around the city. Damage in the United States amounted to $65 billion.  Its highest winds reached 115 mph (185 km/h).

 

Table 1

Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale


Category
Wind Speed (km/h)
Effects
One
119-153
No real damage
Two
154-177
Some roof and window damage
Three
178-209
Some structural damage to small residences; mobile homes destroyed
Four
210-249
Extensive building failures
Five
greater than 249
Complete roof failure on buildings; some complete building failures

 Part B

Day
Latitude (°N)
Longitude (°W)
Wind speed (km/h)
Type of Storm
Issue warning? Where?
  1
15
47
  56


  2
17
53
  80


  3
18
57
112


  4
21
60
144


  5
23
64
160


  6
23
69
232


  7
25
74
216


  8
27
78
216


  9
32
79
168


10
41
74
  96


11
45
67
  72


12
48
56
  64


    

Analysis

  1. Which of the storms described in Part A were category five hurricanes?
  1. What information did you use to classify each of the storms?
  1. Describe the conditions that led you to issue a hurricane warning.
  1. Did the center of the storm pass over the areas to which you decided to issue warnings?
  1. When did the hurricane tracked in Part B reach the status of a category three hurricane? (Hint: The data presented in Table 3 shows one measurement for each day of the storm.
  2.  Did the hurricane that you tracked in Part B show characteristics of every category described by the Saffir-Simpson scale?
  3.   The formation of a hurricane depends on what three factors?
  4.  Reflect: A hurricane starts out as a low pressure system, why is this so?  Why would a high pressure area not turn into a hurricane?  (Hint: Think of the water cycle.)
­______________________________________________________________________


Monday, April 7, 2014

Watch this Water Cycle video!

video

LAB #8 – Heating Earth’s Surface


LAB #8 – Heating Earth’s Surface

Sometimes, a plunge in a pool or lake on a hot summer day feels cool and refreshing. Why does the beach sand get so hot when the water remains cool? A few hours later, the water feels warmer than the land does.

Problem
How do soil and water compare in their abilities to absorb and emit heat?

Hypothesis


Materials
Soil
Metric ruler
Water
Containers for soil and water
 
Overhead light
 
Thermometers
 
Stopwatch
  
Procedure 

1.             Add 500 ml of water to one of the boxes and 500 ml of soil to the other box.
2.             Use a thermometer to find the temperature of the water and soil in each container. Record your data in the Results section.
3.             Place the containers side by side underneath the overhead light. Be sure both containers receive the same amount of light.
4.             Measure the temperature of the water in each container at 1-minute intervals for 10 minutes. Record your data in the Results.
5.             After you record your 10 minute reading, turn of the light and take your initial reading with the light off.
6.             Measure the temperature of the water and soil in each container at 1-minute intervals for 10 minutes. Record your data in the Results.
  

Results

Temperature With Light On (°F)
Temperature With Light Off (°F)
Time (min)
Soil
Water
Time (min)
Soil
Water
0
0
1
1
2
2
3
3
4
4
5
5
6
6
7
7
8
8
9
9
10
   10

Analysis
1.         Graph the data from the table, using a line graph. Use one colored pencil to show data for the water container and a different one to show data for the soil container with the light on.  Make a second graph with the light off. Draw lines to connect the temperature for each container.

2.         Calculate the total change in temperature for each material. 

3.         Which material had the greater increase in temperature?  Which material cooled faster?  Why do you think this is?

4.         Infer from your graphs which cooled faster—the water or the soil.  How could you prove this?
5. What was your independent variable?  What was your dependent variable?  What are two variables that should remain constant?
6. Relate: What is this modeling in the real world? 

7. Compare/Contrast: How do your results show the relationship between wind, sea breezes and land breezes? 


Conclusion

 What was your problem?
 Restate your hypothesis.  Was it right? wrong?  why or why not?
 What did you learn in this lab?
 What did you like about this lab?
 What were some challenges you had to deal with?
 What could you do next with this problem?  What other tests could you perform?
 Write down any other additional thoughts, observations, inferences, etc.