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Further Investigations: Wind Formation

  1. Measure wind speed by looking at clouds in the sky. Track their movement by comparing them to a tall stationary object like a tree, flagpole, or apartment building. Compare the movement of clouds at different heights in the sky.
  2. The earth is constantly rotating on its axis, giving us day-night cycles. A person standing on the equator is moving at a faster rotational speed than someone standing near the North Pole. At your current location on Earth, how fast is your rotational speed? Assume the earth’s circumference is 40,075 kilometers (km) and the earth completes one full rotation in approximately 24 hours. The circumference of the earth at any latitude is equal to 2π cos (ºlatitude). Report your answer in both kilometers per hour and miles per hour.
  3. Use your observation skills to observe the effects of wind on land and water. Estimate wind speed and open water sea state (if you are near water) by comparing your observations to the Beaufort scale (see Sea States).
  4. Use a wind meter—an anemometer—to take wind readings. Why do you think it is important to take multiple readings of the wind? Return to the same location at different times. How does the wind change? Is it a predictable change? How does the wind affect the environment?

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Exploring Our Fluid Earth, a product of the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG), College of Education. University of Hawaii, 2011. This document may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-profit educational purposes.