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High Investigation Test - Atmosphere
Task with Student Directions

Atmosphere Investigation Tests

(Given data from the GLOBE data archives)
GLOBE Data for:
La Colina School, Santa Barbara, CA

School Period of Data Latitude Longitude Elevation (m)
La Colina School 1/15/99 - 3/15/99 34.4233 N 119.7033 W 0

(Present problem requiring use of GLOBE data archives) You are a student at La Colina School located in the coastal town of Santa Barbara in Southern California. Your class is planning a beach party and you are on the planning committee. Santa Barbara frequently experiences a great range in cloud cover due to its elevation and proximity to the ocean. You have been asked to report to the committee your recommendations for when the party should be held. Given air temperature and cloud coverage data collected at La Colina, your job is to determine the relationship of cloud coverage and temperature at your sea-level school and report your findings.

1) (Plan Investigations: Pose relevant questions) Look at the GLOBE data provided. Think of two questions you might ask regarding the data. A sample question might be "Is there anything unusual regarding air temperature for this time of year?"




2) (Interpreting GLOBE data: Infer patterns & trends) One of the students on the committee, John, says that the temperature and cloud cover are completely random - it can be hot and sunny one day and cold and overcast the next. What trend do you see regarding the air temperature? What trend do you see regarding the cloud coverage?




3) (Take GLOBE Measurements: Use quality assurance procedures) You have observed some of the students at your school collecting the GLOBE data. Are there any data that you suspect might be due to a measurement error? How can you tell? What would you tell these students to insure that this doesn't happen again?




4) (Interpret GLOBE Data: Explain data & relationships) One of the students on the committee, Emma, suggested that it might be helpful to see if there is a relationship between the variables. What is the relationship between maximum temperature and cloud cover? For example, if cloud coverage increases, what happens to the maximum air temperature?




5) (Analyze and Interpret Data: Infer patterns & trends) To help in your analysis, use the air temperature graph to create another graph that shows the average air temperature over time. Since there are many data points, break the graph into three-day segments and find the averages per each segment. What trends do you notice?



6) (Interpret GLOBE Data: Create multiple formats to represent data) Using the temperature graph, create another graph that shows the range in temperature over time. Again, break the graph into three-day segments and find the average range for each segment. What trends that you notice?




7) (Analyze and Compare GLOBE Data: Identify data components) What does it mean if there is a steep line between two data points on the temperature graph? What does it mean if there is a line that slowly increases over several data points? Do you think an atmospheric scientist would be concerned by a steep line upward (positive slope) and a steep line downward (negative slope) over a three day period? Explain your answer.





8) (Planning Investigations: Ask to set up another problem) Using the GLOBE database, choose another school in a town that has the same latitude as La Colina but is on a different coast. Following a similar investigation of this new school, what trends do you see? In other words, how is this school the same and/or different from La Colina? What other atmosphere variables might you look at to tell you more about the environmental factors at each school? Why did you choose these variables?

9) (Communicate: Compose reports to explain or persuade) Using the data analysis you have done, write a short report (1-2 pages) that summarizes your findings and explains when you think the beach party should take place. Be sure to support your conclusions with data you have analyzed and suggest other data that might be helpful for further study of the coastal weather.


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