Climate and Weather - an overview for A level, on the RGS website.
Depressions, Anticyclones and Synoptic Charts
Mid-latitude weather systems video (with downloadable resources)
Depression based exercise where students draw contours of temperature, pressure and precipitation to work out what the system looks like: Student worksheets and notes for teachers. Simpler versions of the same exercise can be found on the KS3/4 web pages.
Mid-latitude weather systems and air masses practical excercises.
There are some more teaching resources covering weather systems and weather maps on the GCSE resources page.
Some useful links about Super typhoon Haiyan/ Yolanda
Climate and Climate Change
Climate Change with sections on atmospheric structure, composition, solar radiation, climate feedback mechanisms and ozone depletion.
An exercise using height/ temperature graphs to investigate atmospheric stability, lapse rates and cloud formation with a worksheet for students and an introductory PowerPoint.
Investigate How big is a raindrop collect data and analyse mode, mean and median, range, interquartile range and standard deviation etc. - with thanks to Stephen Lyon at the National STEM centre. Background information in an article in Weather: A low-cost experiment for determining raindrop size distribution and another Making rainfall features fun: scientific activities for teaching children aged 5–12 years.
This lovely animation explores integration through Is it better to walk or run in the rain?.
A one hour tutorial on Climate variability, change and water resources from MetEd (requires free registration). The level is suitable for A level.
A very useful set of animations, videos and explanations from Wycombe High School’s Animated Geography.
Other recommended useful links
GA talk – recent case studies of mid-latitude depressions
Some resources and links from the talk given by Sylvia Knight at the Geographical Association meeting in April 2012:
- A lecture video on Mid-latitude weather systems with downloadable images
- Case Study of June 2007 storm
- 2011/ 2012 Case Studies
- 2013/ 2014 Case Studies
How does the conveyor belt flow relate to the traditional picture of anticlockwise air flow at the surface?
Dr. Sue Gray, from the University of Reading, replies “The cold and warm conveyor belts are in the cyclonic (anticlockwise in Northern hemisphere) sense. The geostrophic winds follow the isobars and the isobars aren’t completely circular around a cyclone. The sharpening of pressure gradient (reduction in the isobar separation) associated with the warm conveyor belt is usually obvious on a synoptic chart. You can’t usually see the cold conveyor belt in the isobar separation because the cold conveyor belt is usually only visible if you look in a system-relative sense (i.e. you take the eastwards motion of the depression away from the winds). The cold conveyor belt travels westwards relative to an eastwards travelling system resulting in weak earth-relative winds, except if it hooks all the way around the system to the west of the system centre – in this case you can see very strong surface winds associated with the cold conveyor belt.”
How does the conveyor belt flow relate to the jet stream flow in the upper troposphere?
Dr. Sue Gray, from the University of Reading, replies “Conveyor belts are distinct from the jet stream but you wouldn’t have a cyclone and hence conveyor belts without a jet stream and so all features will be present and in the correct relative positions. “
A common image is that of the jet stream acting as a ‘hoover’, removing the rising/ diverging air from above the depression. Is this at all accurate?
Dr. Sue Gray, from the University of Reading, replies “It’s more true to think of the warm conveyor belt as a hoover extracting air from the top of the boundary layer. This is particularly important if there is pollution trapped in the boundary layer. There are ascent (and upper-level divergence) regions associated with confluence and diffluence of streamlines (e.g. to the left of a jet (or jet streak) entrance region and to the right of a jet (or jet streak) exit region) and the removal of this air is associated with the lowering of pressure in an intensifying cyclone. However, the values of ascent due to this mechanism are usually much weaker than those associated with the warm conveyor belt (and any convection embedded within it). “
How can the cold conveyor belt rise at the centre of the depression, over the occluded front – isn’t it rising into the warm sector air?
Dr. Sue Gray, from the University of Reading, replies “The warm conveyor belt ascends up the cold frontal surface in the warm sector and then ascends over the warm front. It can then split into cyclonic and anticyclonic components. The cold conveyor belt lies ahead of and beneath the warm frontal surface in the cold air. It does ascend, but much less so than the air in the warm conveyor belt, so it always lies beneath the warm air. The warm front may become occluded near the centre of the depression. “