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Hurricanes and Climate
https://scied.ucar.edu/activity/hurricanes-and-climate

Lisa Gardiner, UCAR Science Education; NESTA

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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • 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.
    Scientific strengths:
    - 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.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Activity downloadable in pdf form.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Activity supports:


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