Hurricanes and Climate
Lisa Gardiner, UCAR Science Education; NESTA
Activity takes one to three 50-minute class periods.Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»
See how this Activity supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
Middle School: 2 Performance Expectations, 3 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 6 Cross Cutting Concepts, 6 Science and Engineering Practices
High School: 1 Performance Expectation, 2 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 6 Cross Cutting Concepts, 5 Science and Engineering Practices
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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy |
- Would be a good piece included in a larger lesson on weather and connections between ocean and the atmosphere.
- Try to locate more current data on hurricane frequency and intensity in each of the 6 targeted geographic regions.
About the Science
- This activity is about where (geographically) and when (seasonally) hurricanes occur, relative frequencies of hurricanes in different locations, and relationships among sea surface temperature, hurricane location, and frequency of occurrence.
- Science background provided in the activity is pretty superficial. Data provided on hurricane frequency is old (2004/2005). Would be better to seek more current data.
- Comments from expert scientist:
Great activity with an excellent student workbook component.
- creating bar graphs
- clear explanation of why hurricanes form where they do
- interpreting SST maps and making the connection between where hurricanes form and the warmest waters
- inferring why hurricanes might become stronger and more frequent
- very slight introduction to the Coriolis Effect (too difficult to explain but at least the students get some exposure)
- explanation between warming global temperatures and hurricanes
About the Pedagogy
- Would fit in well with a class learning about weather, ocean/atmosphere interactions, or hurricanes. Focuses mostly on hurricanes with information about how they're formed and how ocean and air temperatures are a factor in their creation. Would fit well as an introduction or add-on to a larger lesson about one of the above topics.
- Activity involves reading and analyzing maps of displayed data, constructing simple bar graphs and a timeline, and reflecting on the information conveyed by the visuals. Links to additional sources of information provided.