| || The following essay was prepared by Travis Olmsted, a student at Dora School. He was in fifth grade at the time. |
I started to be interested in meteorology in 1997, the first time I saw the movie "Twister." From that point on, I kept my eye on the sky. At school, in every class, I sit by the window and I am always gazing out of it. I have always wondered what is the secret behind weather. People tell me I'm crazy for this, but I have always wanted to go in the middle of a tornado. I am always searching for more information on the weather in books and on the internet.
Stratus Clouds over Douglas County
History of Meteorology:
The first meteorologist in colonial America was Ben Franklin. He proved that lightning is a giant spark of electricity. He also invented the lightning rod. The rod is made of metal so lightning strikes the rod instead of the structure it is attached to.
There are 12 basic kinds of clouds. They are as follows: Altocumulus, Altostratus, Cumulonimbus, Cumulus, Stratus, Stratocumulus, Nimbostratus, Fog, Cirrus, Cirrocumulus, Cirrostratus and Contrails. The cloud's prefix indicates the cloud's height. A cloud is made up of floating collections of tiny water droplets.
Clouds are made of liquid water and ice, both of which are heavier than air. While gravity pulls the droplets and ice crystals down, air pressure pushes them back up. Because of this pushing and pulling, they fall very slowly and usually evaporate long before they reach the earth.
Mixture of Stratus and Cumulus Clouds
Instruments Used to Measure Weather:
Among the many instruments for measuring weather, the most common are the Barometer, Rain Gauge, Thermometer and Anemometer.
High and Low Pressure:
- Thermometer: A Thermometer tells what the temperature is in two kinds of measurements -- Farenheit, which puts the temperature where water freezes at 32 degrees, and where water boils at 212 degrees; and Celsius, which places the freezing point of water at 0 degrees and the boiling point at 100 degrees.
- Barometer: This instrument measures air pressure.
- Rain Gauge: This tells us how much rain fell in one area.
- Anemometer: This instrument measures wind speed.
High pressure brings clear and sunny skies. Air under high pressure sinks, leaving us with clear skies. A barometer measures high and low pressure.
Low pressure brings cloudy and gloomy skies. Air under low pressure rises and cools, forming clouds and sometimes precipitation. Low pressure systems sometimes bring tornadoes.