| How the extreme weather affects non-living things?|
One time I drove with some other scientists to
Death Valley in California where we saw some rocks
which had been sculpted by strong winds. These
rocks, called "ventifacts," are usually
smooth and have a rippled look where the wind has
eaten them into odd shapes. Areas with severe
winds and extreme cold, like some areas of
Antarctica, can have whole valleys covered with
Extreme weather can also cause non-living
objects, like mountains, to change their
shape. When I was in Colorado I saw an area
where the ground shifted because of a huge
rainstorm. All of the water caused part of the
soil on one of the hills to move down the
Storms can also bring in sediments and leave
them behind in layers which we call "storm
deposits." Because we know what storms bring
in right now we can also find evidence for old
storms by looking at mudstones and sandstones
which formed in the ocean.
Weather can affect non-living things in many
more ways than I talked about. When you get older
you could discover some new effects of strange
weather as well!
Typically when we think about extreme weather, we
think about the effect of weather on humans and
other life forms. However, weather events also
greatly impact non-living things. Freeze and
thaw cycles tend to break up rocks, weathering
them physically. Landscape erosion can be greatly
enhanced by storms because rivers and streams are
able to transport larger amounts and larger sizes
of material than they otherwise would, due to
faster flow velocities. Sand at beaches is carried
away by strong storms until it can be replenished
over time. Sediments become hydrated during
rainfall events, which can result in landslides
and land movement. Many of these processes can
create hazards for humans, but the physical
landscape is very much shaped by extreme weather
Weather is the source of all erosion. We
may not see the effects over a day, or a week, but
rain and wind (or extreme rain and wind like
cyclones or hurricanes) cause the slow destruction
of non-living things. Let's consider an example.
If you have a red plastic bucket and you forget to
put it away and it stays outside for years. Over
time, the sun will bleach the colour so it will
appear faded, the wind and rain will slowly
deteriorate the plastic by scratching and slowly
dissolving it. It might seem impossible to
imagine that this is happening because it is a
very slow process. But ancient cities like
Rome are great examples where huge pillars of rock
are now crumbly because they have been eroded by
wind and rain.
Extreme heat causes lakes and rivers to dry
up. Some kinds of earth can also dry up so much
that it gets cracked.
Extreme rainfall causes floods and
Extreme cold can cause rocks to break,
when the water that leaked into cracks in the rock
freezes and expands.
If I knew more about the water cycle, I might
be able to tell you more about how extreme weather
affects clouds and other parts of the water cycle.
Weather is weather, which is nonliving.
Erosion is affected by weather, the more
rain there is, the more erosion. The more
temperatures change, the more erosion
because things swell as they warm up and shrink as
they cool off, which can cause them to break.
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