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Dear UCSB Scientist,
My class and I are learning about seasons and about weather. Today is sunny. We heard that tomorrow there is supposed to be rain. How can weather change so fast?
Thank you so much!

Question Date: 2010-10-29
Answer 1:

Weather changes because we live at the bottom of an ocean of air that is constantly moving. At our latitude the upper level winds move from west to east sometimes at speeds on the order of 40-150 mph!!... These upper level winds bring different weather to us.

You might go here
and fool around looking at things. There are some nice animations showing current state of the atmosphere.

Answer 2:

The next are interesting links where you and your students can learn a lot about the weather.The firs link can lead you to several places where you can also find songs for your kids. Please enjoy them!


What Is the Difference Between Weather and Climate?

The sun is the driving force behind weather. As solar energy reaches the Earth, equatorial regions heat up more than the poles.

As land or ocean water warms, it heats the air next to it and this air begins rising. As the heated air rises, air from elsewhere flows in to replace it.

If the Earth were not rotating on its axis, the air flowing in to replace the rising air would be coming from the polar regions. At the same time, the air that rises near the equator would be flowing high above the ground, to descend and replace the air that's flowing along the surface toward the tropics.

Earth's rotation causes the air to begin turning as it flows along the ground or high in the air. The result is a complicated picture with extratropical storms carrying air toward the tropics and warm air toward the poles. Tropical cyclones such as hurricanes carry warm air toward the poles.

Warm and cold ocean currents also help balance the heat budget.


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