Projects that test a hypothesis
Here are some suggestions for projects to test a hypothesis. We give one possible hypothesis for each project, but many others are also possible. After stating your hypothesis, design and carry out an experiment to test it.
How does the temperature change during the day?
One possible hypothesis: The temperature is lowest at midnight and highest at high noon.
What is the difference between the temperature in direct sun and in the shade? Is the difference always the same?
One possible hypothesis: The temperature in the shade is at least 10° F but no more than 20° F cooler than in the sun.
How accurate is weather prediction? Compare the accuracy of two or more TV meteorologists.
One possible hypothesis: The meteorologist on Channel 3 is more often right than the meteorologist on Channel 7.
How does weather affect human emotion?
One possible hypothesis: People are more often sad, depressed, or moody on cloudy days than on sunny days.
Does weather affect test scores? Should teachers give tests on rainy days so students perform better?
One possible hypothesis: Students do better on tests on rainy days than on sunny days.
You could test this hypothesis by giving a timed test such as a math addition or multiplication test to the same people on very different weather days. Do they score better or faster in good or bad weather? You could also look at any data on SAT scores, usually required for entrance to a university, to see if any research has been done correlating them to weather conditions.
Projects that review what we already know
Here are some suggestions for research projects to find out how much scientists already know about these things.
How do clouds and cloud formation relate to weather patterns?
What are clouds made of? What are the different kinds of clouds and how are they different?
What causes the wind to blow? Are hurricanes and tornadoes just high winds?
How are tornados formed and what causes them?
What causes hail? Why are some hailstones larger than others?
Does solar activity such as sunspots or coronal mass ejections affect weather on Earth?
Can you outrun a typical tornado or hurricane as it moves across the earth? Should you try? Why or why not?
Is air pressure related to weather as some aneroid barometers suggest with the words that are printed on them?
Projects that find relationships in the data
These suggested projects will require you to make observations (which may require reading the data reports of others) and try to see patterns or relationships in the data.
What are your local rainfall patterns and how do they compare to other parts of the country?
What are the common wind patterns in your area and why?
How do yearly rainfall statistics in your area compare with corresponding numbers of traffic accidents or fatalities?
How do yearly rainfall statistics in your area compare with corresponding forest fires or brush fires?
Is weather related to local crop harvests?
Is weather related to illnesses? Are there more colds and flu when the weather is cold and damp?
Using an aneroid barometer and cloud types see how well you can predict the general weather using some simple observations: High thin cirrus clouds usually precede a storm the day before. Falling barometers often mean rain is on the way. High pressure often indicates clearing skies. Puffy cottonball looking cumulus clouds are often fair weather clouds. In certain times of the year patterns might exist such as the weather to the northwest often heads your way in the winter or in summer the weather in the southwest often heads your way. Did you predict the weather as well as the local forecasters?
Engineering design project
Design and build an automatic recording weather device. Test it over time.