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Island 3 Extreme Weather and Monster Storms Level 1

Scientific Data and Analysis

POP students will learn about weather and how it can change in an instant. They will explore more about why weather is so hard to predict.

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Island 3 Exploring Weather and Monster Storms Level 1

Meteorologists Study Climate and Weather

Extreme Weather and Climate Change

Climate change, such as global warming, changes Earth’s average temperature. Slight differences in Earth’s average temperature produce large changes in climate and weather. For example, the average temperature of Earth during the last ice age was lower than today by about 14 degrees Fahrenheit (7°Celsius). Today, the Earth is warming at an alarming rate. Scientists studying the rate of warming do not know how Earth will respond. 

How Does Climate Change Affect the Weather?

Scientists find it very challenging to predict the effects of climate change, though it is not impossible. This is because there are complex relationships between Earth's wide-ranging climate regions and natural cyclic events.

For example, global warming will result in more snow and ice melt. Melted snow becomes water vapor in the atmosphere. Water vapor is one of the gases responsible for the greenhouse effect; it holds in some of the energy that would otherwise radiate outward from Earth’s surface. This causes the temperature to increase even more. But water vapor also creates clouds that block sunlight and help keep Earth cool. Will more water vapor increase or decrease the average temperature on Earth?

Predicting the outcome of climate change presents challenges because so many of Earth’s systems interact with each other. One outcome that seems certain, however, is more extreme and unpredictable weather.

Understanding Climate and Weather

Climate changes depending on season and location.

Climate represents the “average” weather conditions for a place over a long period of time. For example, along the equator, we find tropical rain forests. We expect warm and wet conditions in tropical rain forests.

Weather changes daily, even by the hour. A POP student may walk to school in the sun and return home wet from a rainstorm. Weather predictions lose their accuracy the further in advance they are made. Factors like temperature, humidity, air pressure, wind currents, and tides can have strong short-term influences over weather conditions