Weather is the short-lived condition of the air. Short-lived because in some places like Melbourne, Australia you could experience three weather patterns in one day! It may be cold and windy in the morning. The afternoon could be hot enough for swimming gear to be thrown in the back of the car and you're heading for the beach. By the time it's 7 p.m. you could be huddled in front of a warm fire safely tucked in a comfy armchair watching the spectacular lightning storm from your lounge room window.
Some weather conditions continue for several days, weeks or months. In other areas of the world it could be years before a significant change in the weather is observed and in that case we're looking at drought stricken areas and desert areas. Australia suffers from droughts on a regular basis and the start of the El Nino weather system in the Pacific Ocean led to a drought across eastern Australia that affected both New South Wales and Queensland. 93% of New South Wales was severely affected and the wheat crop throughout the state was reduced by a whopping 90 per cent in 1994.
Visit some of the web sites below for some interesting Australian weather information.
|Severe Weather Association (Australia)||Brisbane Storm Chasers|
|Environment Australia On-line||North East Media of Atmospheric Science|
|Australian Bureau of Meteorology Home Page||Victorian Environmental Protection Authority|
|Latest Satellite Image Downloads (Australia)||Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society|
|Find the Globe Project (Australia)||Australian Maps | Expedia Maps|
|Schools of the Pacific Rainfall Climate||South East Queensland Storm Site|
|Strike One Photography||Powerhouse Museum, Sydney|
|Ozone Monitoring Program||Gove (NT) Meteorological Office|
|Australian Weather News||Weather Zone|
|Weather News||ABC News Weather|
Besides temperature and precipitation the weather consists of wind speed, visibility, air pressure, cloud conditions, air quality and the amount of water vapor. When we talk about precipitation we are looking at moisture that falls from the sky in the form of rain, snow or hail.
The weather also depends on the latitude and how close you are to the ocean. Southern and Northern hemispheres enjoy different climates and a significant difference in temperature during the four seasons.
Evaporation brings precipitation.
The sun warms water from rivers, lakes and oceans and it evaporates. When the sun goes down the temperature becomes cooler and the water condensates. Water also evaporates from plants and trees.
Our atmosphere always contains invisible water vapor. When the atmosphere can no longer hold all the invisible water vapor, clouds form. There are three basic cloud types: Cumulus - Stratus - Cirrus. Below is a table of more cloud types and their abbreviation.
Cloud types and abbreviations
|Altocumulus - Ac||Cumulonimbus - Cb|
|Altostratus - As||Cumulus - Cu|
|Cirrocumulus - Cc||Nimbostratus - Ns|
|Cirrostratus - Cs||Stratocumulus - Sc|
|Cirrus - Ci||Stratus - St|
When we talk about the weather; thunderstorms, lightning, tornadoes, hurricanes and cyclones automatically spring to mind. Dangerous thunderstorms, spectacular lightning shows, frightening tornadoes and hurricanes which can cause inconceivable damage. Cyclones can wipe whole townships of the face of the earth like tropical cyclone Tracy that struck Darwin, Australia in 1974 on Christmas Day with wind speeds of up to 240 kph.
Besides these weather patterns we should also think of earthquakes, flash floods, landslides and avalanches, tsunamis, droughts, volcanoes and ice storms like the freeze in 1998, Canada. Sudden temperatures as low as -20C splintered trees like matchwood and snapped pylons, leaving the homes of around 2 million people without electricity. A state of emergency was declared, the death toll reached 17 people and $1 billion in damages was estimated The different weather patterns also cause fires and famines. Lightning storms can cause severe bush fires whereas droughts cause severe famines.
Observing the weather is not only interesting and fun but also extremely educational. If you have the time you may like to take a look at one or two weather web cameras. These are set up especially for people like yourself so you can view the weather in a different area and get an idea what the weather is like where the web-cam is installed.
|Australian Ski Reports Site||Mawson station||Melbourne zoo|
|South Australia||Web cameras coastal watch||More web cameras|
Weathermen who measure the weather are called meteorologists. The weather measurements are called observations and these are taken every hour under normal circumstances. If the weather is particularly bad they will take measurements more often. Meteorologists have sophisticated equipment to help them with their job and they compare readings with other weather stations around the world.
International Weather Services
|Malaysia||Mexico||Netherlands||New Zealand||Norway||Portugal||Singapore||South Africa|
We can read the weather using many types of equipment like a weather vane, a thermometer, a barometer, a weather balloon or a rain gauge, cloud photography using satellites or aeroplanes and condensation readings are also used. If you're into weather projects and activities you may like to visit one of the following links to help you get started.
Weather projects and interesting weather web sites.
|Powers of Nature (USA)||Natural disasters|
|How the Weather Works (U.S.A.)||Weather around the world|
|Bablake Weather Station (U.K.)||The Globe Project (U.S.A.)|
|Metlink International (U.K)||Environmental Weather science|
|Learn about the Weather (USA)||Storm Chaser (South Africa)|
|Teaching Resources Natural Disasters||World Weather Watch: Search Engine|
The weather is important to most people. Children want to know the weather so they can play outside. Musicians who are getting ready for an open-air concert want to know the weather so they can make alternative arrangements should it rain.
|Zoo-keepers also want to know the weather so they can locate their animals in-or-outdoors. Sailors, fishermen and divers definitely want to know the weather. Could you imagine going for a dive and you didn't know a tsunami was heading your way?|
|The weather can be observed from any place but an excellent spot to be is on a mountain top. The Stirling Ranges, Western Australia are ideal to observe different weather patterns. In summer you can enjoy hot days between 25°C to 40°C and if you go in winter time you better rug up because snow can settle on the mountain tops pretty quick.||
There are many excellent books for sale that deal with the weather. Public libraries also stock a wonderful range of weather books. If you like reading weather information from a Biblical point of view 'The Weather Book' written by Michael Oard comes highly recommended. ISBN: 0-89051-211-6 For information contact: Master Books, PO Box 727, Green Forest, AR 72638 or visit: http://www.answersingenesis.org to purchase this book. Simply type: 'the weather book' or 'michael oard' in the Answers in Genesis Online Store search facility to locate it easily.
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