"The heat received on the earth from the sun is the controlling factor
in all weather conditions."
-Handbook of Nature Study, page 791
Our Outdoor Hour Challenge task for this week was to see what influences the temperature and the atmosphere around us. After reviewing all we learned about how temperature affects water, creating the water cycle, we talked about how the same process occurs with air. When air is heated (primarily by the sun), it expands and rises. Cool air rushes in to fill the vacuum left by the rising hot air. This creates wind. We did an experiment to create our own wind. We put a bowl of ice on one side of an empty aquarium and lit a candle on the other side. We lit a piece of rolled up wax paper to create smoke so we could see the movement of the air. You can't really see from the picture, but the smoke (air) swirled around the aquarium going up at the candle and then going down when it went to the ice, swirling around in a circle. Of course our wind was a very light breeze!
We also talked about how the earth has layers of air that surrounds it, called atmosphere. The bottom layer is called "troposphere." "Tropos" is Greek for "turn," so the troposphere is where the air is turning, or where wind and other weather takes place.
We went on a nature walk to see wind, but it is absolutely still today -no wind! We did look at the clouds of the day and noticed that they obscured the sun! We also noted important factors that affect weather: Temperature 48 °F, Overcast, Humidity: 50%, Wind: 7 mph from the South, Air Pressure: 30.15 in.