Gizmo of the Week: Coastal Winds and Clouds

August begins this week. Even though the summer is winding down, there’s still time to head to the beach! The weather in coastal areas is distinctly different from the weather that occurs inland. The Coastal Winds and Clouds Gizmo explores how coastal wind patterns vary depending on the time of day. This variation comes about due to the high heat capacity of water. During the day, the land heats up more quickly than the water. The warmer air above the land expands and rises, causing air to move from the ocean toward the land, where we detect it as a cool ocean breeze. At night, the land cools off more quickly than the ocean, resulting in the wind blowing from the land out to sea. This Gizmo allows students to use a drifting boat, weather balloon, and weather probe to detect these changes and observe other related weather patterns.

Start using this and other Gizmos today! Sign up now for your free account!