Do Clouds Tell Us What Weather Is Coming?

Grade Levels: 5 - 8

Do you know anyone who seems to be able to check out the sky and predict what the weather will be? If so, how do you think he or she does so?

Observing clouds can tell us a lot about what kind of weather to expect. The experiment described in this section will help you to know what to look for when using clouds to predict upcoming weather.

There are several types of clouds that appear due to approaching and current weather conditions. You probably know what thunderstorm clouds look like, and the kind of weather they bring.

To begin the experiment, record your starting date, time, and the temperature on a chart in a journal. Begin observing the clouds twice a day, writing down your observations each time. Try to observe them at about the same times each day, and note specific information such as cloud color, type, approximate wind speed and direction, and so forth.

If you check out the sky at night, record anything interesting such as a ring round the moon. Write down as much about the weather as you can, along with your observations of the sky.

Once you have collected several weeks' worth of data and observations about the clouds you've seen, objectively interpret your results. Were there any significant patterns related to cloud type and weather that developed?

With the knowledge you've gained about clouds and weather, do you think you could predict the day's weather without seeing it first on television or reading about it in the newspaper?

Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Science Fair Projects © 2003 by Nancy K. O'Leary and Susan Shelly. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide website or call 1-800-253-6476.

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