Weather Watch Grade 5 - Weather Instruments
When we want to record and predict the weather, there are lots of different ways and tools that we can use. Between thermometers, barometers and anemometers, there are lots of instruments to help predict and measure the weather. All these instruments help make the weather maps we see on the news.
A THERMOMETER measures the air temperature. Most thermometers are closed glass tubes containing liquids such as alcohol or mercury. When air around the tube heats the liquid, the liquid expands and moves up the tube. A scale then shows what the actual temperature is.
A BAROMETER measures air pressure. It tells if air pressure is rising or falling. As pressure gets higher, it means sunny and dry conditions, while a falling pressure means stormy and wet conditions. An Italian scientist named Torricelli built the first barometer in 1643.
An ANEMOMETER measures wind speed. The cups catch the wind, turning a dial attached to the instrument. The dial shows the wind speed.
A SLING PSYCHROMETER measures relative humidity, using the cooling effect of evaporation. Two thermometers are used in a sling psychrometer. Wet the cloth of one of the thermometers and swing the psychrometer around a few times. Water evaporates from the cloth, causing the temperatures on that thermometer to be lower the the other.
A RAIN GAUGE measures the amount of rain that has fallen over a specific time period.
You can make your own with just a jar and a ruler. You can then measure how much rain we’ve had in a given amount of time.
A WIND VANE is an instrument that helps tell you the direction from which the wind is blowing.
A HYGROMETER measures the water vapor content of air or the humidity.
WEATHER SATELLITES are used to photograph and track large-scale air movements. Then meteorologists analyze the data with the help of computers.
WEATHER MAPS indicate atmospheric conditions above a large portion of the Earth's surface. Meteorologists use weather maps to forecast the weather.
A WEATHER BALLOON measures weather conditions higher up in the atmosphere.
A COMPASS is a navigational instrument for finding directions.
YOUR EYES are one of the the best ways to help detect the weather. Always keep an eye at the sky and you'll usually be on top of weather conditions.