Synoptic Meteorology Learning Lesson – Drawing Conclusions (2022)

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Jet Stream - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
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Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be "fully aligned," the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

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Reviewed by: Jennifer (Lexington Park, MD) on 7/2/2019 9:49:28 AM

https://www.weather.gov/jetstream/ll_analyze

(Video) How to Read Weather Maps

(Video) Synoptic chart wind interpretation

Description

Synoptic meteorology is the study of large scale weather systems providing a broad view of the weather at a particular time and location. In this lesson, students determine the location of weather systems and draw trend lines on basic weather maps provided by the National Weather Service. They analyze surface air pressure, air temperature, dewpoint and pressure change. Then students are given a complete surface weather plot map and are asked to analyze weather conditions including wind direction, cloud cover, and the types of weather present in various areas of the US. They draw in the areas of high and low pressure as well as the edges of the air masses as cold and warm fronts.

Links to each of the maps are provided on the website. Links to what the completed maps should look like are provided so the teacher and students can check answers.

The authors state that the activity should take about 60 minutes, but in reality could take several days. Teachers should note that this is the last lesson in a weather unit in which students have already covered the concepts of air pressure, air masses, the relationship of wind speed and direction to pressure systems, and dew point.

Intended Audience

Educator
Educational Level
  • Grade 6
  • Grade 7
  • Grade 8
  • Middle School
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

MS-ESS2-5 Collect data to provide evidence for how the motions and complex interactions of air masses results in changes in weather conditions.

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on how air masses flow from regions of high pressure to low pressure, causing weather (defined by temperature, pressure, humidity, precipitation, and wind) at a fixed location to change over time, and how sudden changes in weather can result when different air masses collide. Emphasis is on how weather can be predicted within probabilistic ranges. Examples of data can be provided to students (such as weather maps, diagrams, and visualizations) or obtained through laboratory experiments (such as with condensation).

Assessment Boundary: Assessment does not include recalling the names of cloud types or weather symbols used on weather maps or the reported diagrams from weather stations.

(Video) How to read a synoptic chart

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
Students analyze four simplified weather maps showing surface pressure, air temperature, dewpoint and pressure change by drawing isobars, isotherms, etc. The teacher may need to model the interpolation of lines and placement of temperatures and barometric pressure. Having students work in pairs or small groups may assist with the analysis of the maps. They shade in areas with the lowest and highest values on each of these maps and are provided with a brief explanation of what they are indicating – areas of high and low pressure, the location of warm and cold air masses, areas of greater moisture concentration (dew point map), and the location of cold and warm fronts based on changes in air pressure. Teachers should access this link for further information about all the air masses that affect the US and their source regions - http://www.srh.weather.gov/srh/jetstream/synoptic/airmass.html. They can ask students to combine the information they have highlighted in their maps. They should discuss the types of air masses portrayed in the maps and discuss possible interactions when various air masses meet.Students then examine a Surface Observation Map with the aid of a handout explaining the Weather Map Symbols and discuss wind direction and cloud cover as they relate to high and low pressure systems and locate the edge of a warm and cold front. At the conclusion of the lesson, the teacher should explicitly ask students about the motion of the air masses and the changes they bring in weather conditions. For example, a continental polar air mass (cP) interacting with a maritime tropical (mT) may result in thunderstorms and tornadoes.

  • Use graphical displays (e.g., maps, charts, graphs, and/or tables) of large data sets to identify temporal and spatial relationships.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
Students use simplified maps to identify relationships between surface conditions, to locate high and low pressure systems, warm and cold fronts, and other weather pattern indicators. The relationships are both temporal (related to time) and spatial (related to location). The students would need to analyze other maps of weather conditions to develop a generalized understanding of current weather conditions and the locations of weather indicators. Weather maps available at http://graphical.weather.gov/ could be used to describe locations of pressure systems and fronts and show actual conditions. Students could examine the placement of pressure systems and fronts in maps created by meteorologists at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/outlook_tab.php.Students use simplified maps to identify relationships between surface conditions, to locate high and low pressure systems, warm and cold fronts, and other weather pattern indicators. The relationships are both temporal (related to time) and spatial (related to location). The students would need to analyze other maps of weather conditions to develop a generalized understanding of current weather conditions and the locations of weather indicators. Weather maps available at http://graphical.weather.gov/ could be used to describe locations of pressure systems and fronts and show actual conditions. Students could examine the placement of pressure systems and fronts in maps created by meteorologists at http://www.nws.noaa.gov/outlook_tab.php.

(Video) How to read a synoptic weather chart
  • Because these patterns are so complex, weather can only be predicted probabilistically.

This resource appears to be designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea, though the resource developer has not explicitly stated so.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
The complexity of weather patterns is simplified somewhat in this lesson. During the discussions of their analyses of the weather conditions on the four maps, the issues of complexity and probability is likely to arise in the conversation due to extrapolation of numbers to determine the placement of the isobars, etc. The teacher can ask students about the complexity of weather patterns by asking about their predictions for future weather based on their analysis. For example, the teacher could ask what would happen if forecasters made a 100-mile error in constructing a cold front. Teachers could also have students discuss where forecasters got it wrong and try to analyze why they were wrong using a resource such as (http://www.economist.com/blogs/economist-explains/2016/06/economist-explains-10).

  • Patterns in rates of change and other numerical relationships can provide information about natural systems.
(Video) High Impact Weather Course webinar #1 (2022)

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
Students look at patterns in surface pressure, air temperature, dewpoint and pressure change by drawing isobars, isotherms, etc. that provide information about weather systems. They look at rate of change in barometric pressure over a 3-hour period. They use patterns in data on a surface weather plot map to analyze weather conditions including wind direction, cloud cover, and the types of weather present in various areas of the US.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: Students use the practices with core ideas and crosscutting concepts to make sense of weather phenomena. The Disciplinary Core Idea of predicting weather is based on the Science and Engineering Practice of analyzing data in weather maps and the Crosscutting Concept of looking for patterns in the maps. The lesson contains grade-appropriate elements of the science and engineering practice of developing and using models and the crosscutting concepts of looking at patterns to develop those models. These align with the disciplinary core idea of using patterns to predict weather. Students work together to decode weather map symbols to describe the phenomena of various weather conditions.

  • Instructional Supports: Students are engaged in an authentic and meaningful scenario that reflects the practice of science as experienced in the real world as they analyze and interpret weather conditions and predict the weather. It does not ask students to connect their explanation of a phenomenon to their own experience, but the teacher could ask students to track local weather conditions and forecasts as an extension to the lesson. The teacher would need to access students’ prior knowledge and add an engagement activity as an introduction to motivate students and help them see the relevance of the activity. The lesson uses scientifically accurate and grade-appropriate information and representations. The lesson asks students to compare and comment on various features of weather, but doesn’t provide an opportunity for students to express or justify their ideas. The teacher would need to ask questions that further address the practices of modeling and identifying patterns. Students should justify their predictions with the data from the maps and students could respond to peer and teacher questions. The lesson doesn’t provide any guidance for teachers to support differentiated instruction in the classroom for students who have special needs or those who have met performance expectations.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: The lesson supports student progress in a limited manner. No rubrics or scoring guidelines are provided although formative assessment is embedded throughout the instruction in links that provide answer keys. Student weather map representations are accessible and unbiased for all students. A link to a quiz consisting of 10 questions is provided - http://www.srh.noaa.gov/jetstream/synoptic/synoptic_review.html. Some of the questions address topics not covered in the activities, such as the formation of sleet and cloud types. The quiz is graded automatically and answers are explained.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: No technological interactivity is required, although students could access the answers after they have located patterns on their map.

FAQs

What are the benefits of using synoptic weather maps in meteorology? ›

Such maps can help you know what type of weather conditions to expect in the near future, understand weather patterns as a whole and determine the weather in a far-off destination to which you may be traveling.

How do you analyze a synoptic weather map? ›

Now air moves from areas of high pressure to area of low pressure to try and maintain that balance

What is synoptic meteorology? ›

The word synoptic means "view together" or "view at a common point". Therefore, synoptic meteorology is primarily concerned with viewing the weather at a common point -- time.

What evidence is there on a synoptic chart of strong winds? ›

If the difference between areas of high and low pressure is greater then we have a large gradient and the air will move faster to try and balance out this difference. This is shown on a synoptic chart with isobars that are very close together and we feel strong winds as a result.

Why is synoptic climatology important in understanding the climate of any region? ›

Synoptic climatology draws linkages between physical and dynamic aspects of the large-scale atmospheric circulation and surface weather tendencies at regional and local scales. Historical climatology deals with climate change and the many hypotheses suggested to account for them.

What is a synoptic chart and for what purpose? ›

A synoptic chart is any map that summarises atmospheric conditions (temperature , precipitation , wind speed and direction, atmospheric pressure and cloud coverage) over a wide area at a given time.

How do you explain a synoptic chart? ›

On a synoptic chart, wind speed and direction are shown using a wind barb (a dot with a straight line attached). The direction that the stem of the barb is pointing in indicates the direction that the wind is coming from. To represent an increase in speed, lines are added to the barb to make it appear like an arrow.

What is the purpose of meteorology? ›

Beyond weather forecasting, meteorology is concerned with long-term trends in climate and weather, and their potential impact on human populations. An important area of meteorological research these days is climate change and the effects it may cause.

What are the features of a synoptic chart? ›

Synoptic charts consist of curved lines drawn on a geographical map in such a way as to indicate weather features. The curve lines are known as isobars (lines of equal pressure) drawn around depressions (lows) and anticyclones (highs). Air moves from high to low pressure along a gradient.

What is synoptic in science? ›

The definition of synoptic is something that makes up a brief summary or shortened version. An example of synoptic is an outline of a scientific research paper that gives key points; a synoptic outline.

What is synoptic scale weather forecasting? ›

The synoptic scale in meteorology (also known as large scale or cyclonic scale) is a horizontal length scale of the order of 1000 kilometers (about 620 miles) or more. This corresponds to a horizontal scale typical of mid-latitude depressions (e.g., extratropical cyclones).

Which is an example of a synoptic scale wind system? ›

Also, hurricanes are synoptic scale phenomena. from 1 to 100 km. Examples are thunderstorms, tornadoes, and land-sea breezes.

How do you measure wind speed in a synoptic chart? ›

Wind speed from a synoptic chart - YouTube

What is the first stage in preparing a synoptic chart? ›

The first stage in preparing a synoptic chart is to chart the position of each meteorological station. These are marked by a small circle.

How do you interpret weather pressure? ›

A barometric reading below 29.80 inHg is generally considered low, and low pressure is associated with warm air and rainstorms.
...
Low Pressure
  1. Rising or steady pressure indicates clearing and cooler weather.
  2. Slowly falling pressure indicates rain.
  3. Rapidly falling pressure indicates a storm is coming.
4 Mar 2020

What is the significance of studying synoptic meteorology? ›

Synoptic meteorology has traditionally been concerned with the analysis and prediction of large-scale weather systems, such as extratropical cyclones and their associated fronts and jet streams. An important aim of synoptic training is to acquaint the student with the structure and behavior of the real atmosphere.

What is synoptic wind? ›

Synoptic winds are winds associated with large-scale events such as warm and cold fronts, and are part of what makes up everyday weather. ParaCrawl Corpus. The geostrophic wind neglects frictional effects, which is usually a good approximation for the synoptic scale instantaneous flow in the midlatitude mid-troposphere ...

What is meant by Applied Climatology? ›

Applied Climatology examines the characteristics and consequences of the changing global climate and considers the future for both natural and human environments.

What are synoptic symbols? ›

It displays information on temperature, precipitation, wind speed and direction, atmospheric pressure and cloud coverage, all observed from many different weather stations, aeroplanes, balloons and satellites.

Which element is shown on a synoptic chart? ›

The main weather element shown on a synoptic chart is air pressure . Isobar lines, which join up areas of equal air pressure, are drawn on these maps. The pattern these lines make shows areas of low or high pressure.

What is Surface synoptic analysis chart? ›

Surface analysis charts show locations of fronts, highs and lows, squall lines, dry lines, and other weather phenomena that are important in understanding current weather and predicting future weather events.

How do you read synoptic chart symbols? ›

Ch12 Synoptic Weather Chart Symbols - YouTube

What do isobars tell us? ›

Isobars are the plain lines curving across the map. They connect points with the same mean sea level air pressure (weight per square area of air above). Some isobars have numbers on them showing this value in hectopascals (hPa). Isobars indicate the flow of air around weather systems.

What does it mean when isobars are close together? ›

When isobars are close together it is very windy; when they are further apart, conditions are more calm. The wind around highs always blows in a clockwise direction. ("clockwise" refers to the direction that the hands on a clock tick) and winds around lows flows in the opposite direction, or counter-clockwise.

What do you learn in meteorology? ›

Meteorology is the study of weather, climate, and the forces that cause change in our environment. It uses math and physics to understand the atmosphere, which consist of layers of gases and moisture surrounding the earth.

What is another word for meteorology? ›

In this page you can discover 18 synonyms, antonyms, idiomatic expressions, and related words for meteorology, like: weather, climate science, aerology, aerography, weather-forecasting, atmospheric science, oceanography, geophysics, climatology, geoscience and null.

What is an important conclusion of climate prediction models Brainly? ›

The main conclusion of climate prediction models is that human activity increases global warming and raises average world temperatures.

What is a synoptic conclusion? ›

Synoptic is a word used to describe something that gives an overall summary or general outline of a topic or series of events.

What is another word for synoptic? ›

What is another word for synoptic?
succinctconcise
briefterse
pithycompact
crisplaconic
compendiousepigrammatic
77 more rows

What is a synoptic presentation? ›

“a synoptic presentation of a physical theory” adjective. presenting or taking the same point of view; used especially with regard to the first three gospels of the New Testament. “synoptic sayings” synonyms: synoptical same.

What are synoptic scale climate drivers? ›

Synoptic-scale drivers occur on scales from a few hundred kilometers to thousands of kilometers and include wave patterns, air masses, fronts, jet streams, moisture flows, diurnal cycles, rising and sinking air (such as semi-permanent pressure systems), ocean currents, vorticity patterns, and distributions of different ...

What are the three main scales of atmospheric motion? ›

7.1: Scales of atmospheric motion. Microscale → mesoscale → synoptic scale.

What are the three basic categories of wind names? ›

On earth, winds are broadly classified into three categories: Primary Wind. Secondary Wind. Tertiary Wind.

What is used for weather forecasting? ›

Supercomputers

Observational data collected by doppler radar, radiosondes, weather satellites, buoys and other instruments are fed into computerized NWS numerical forecast models. The models use equations, along with new and past weather data, to provide forecast guidance to our meteorologists.

How do you read high and low pressure on a weather map? ›

Atmospheric pressure is measured with an instrument on the ground called a barometer, and these measurements are collected at many locations across the U.S. by the National Weather Service. On weather maps, these readings are represented as a blue “H” for high pressure or a red “L” for low pressure.

What is the relationship of isobars and wind speed? ›

The relationship between isobar spacing and wind speed is that the closer the isobar spacing then the stronger the wind speed. The spacing between isobars represents a pressure differential between those two isobars. When two isobars are closer together then the pressure changes at a greater rate over distance.

How can you tell wind direction from pressure? ›

Determining Surface Wind Direction - YouTube

How do you read a synoptic weather chart? ›

How to read a synoptic chart - YouTube

How would you identify a depression or low pressure on a surface of synoptic and prognostic chart? ›

A depression, also known as a 'low' can be recognised on a weather chart by an area of closely spaced isobars, often in a roughly circular shape, where pressure is lower than surrounding areas. They are often accompanied by fronts. In the Northern Hemisphere winds blow around depressions in an anticlockwise direction.

What symbols are on a weather map? ›

What are the main symbols on a weather map? One of the main symbols on a weather map include a wind barb to display the wind speed and direction. Other symbols include colored lines to designate warm or cold air fronts, isobars for air pressure, and symbols for cloud types.

What causes high pressure in weather? ›

In general, low pressure leads to unsettled weather conditions and high pressure leads to settled weather conditions.

Why is it important to measure air pressure? ›

Atmospheric pressure is an indicator of weather. Changes in the atmosphere, including changes in air pressure, affect the weather. Meteorologists use barometers to predict short-term changes in the weather. A rapid drop in atmospheric pressure means that a low-pressure system is arriving.

What's the difference between low pressure and high pressure? ›

Areas where the air is warmed often have lower pressure because the warm air rises. These areas are called low pressure systems. Places where the air pressure is high, are called high pressure systems. A low pressure system has lower pressure at its center than the areas around it.

What is a synoptic map in geography? ›

A synoptic chart is any map that summarises atmospheric conditions over a wide area at a given time. It displays information on temperature, precipitation, wind speed and direction, atmospheric pressure and cloud coverage, all observed from many different weather stations, aeroplanes, balloons and satellites.

What weather tool is generally used for research more than forecasting? ›

Doppler radar

Doppler radar detects all types of precipitation, the rotation of thunderstorm clouds, airborne tornado debris, and wind strength and direction.

What does a synoptic weather map show Upsc? ›

It depicts conditions associated with different weather elements such as temperature, rainfall, sunshine and cloudiness, direction and velocity of winds, etc. on a particular day. Such observations being taken at fixed hours are transmitted by code to the forecasting stations.

What are the 4 main weather conditions? ›

The weather condition has four components, including temperature, wind, humidity, and rain.

What is a weather symbol? ›

What Are Weather Symbols? Weather symbols are graphical representations of a range of atmospheric conditions commonly used during meteorological forecasts to display current and predict future weather conditions. It is commonly used in conjunction with a synoptic weather map but can be displayed separately as well.

What are 7 weather instruments? ›

Typical instruments
  • Thermometer for measuring air and sea surface temperature.
  • Barometer for measuring atmospheric pressure.
  • Hygrometer for measuring humidity.
  • Anemometer for measuring wind speed.
  • Pyranometer for measuring solar radiation.
  • Rain gauge for measuring liquid precipitation over a set period of time.

What is the importance of a weather map? ›

The basic tool of a weather forecaster is the WEATHER MAP. The weather map depicts the distribution patterns of atmospheric pressure, wind, temperature and humidity at the different levels of the atmosphere.

What is the first stage in preparing a synoptic chart? ›

The first stage in preparing a synoptic chart is to chart the position of each meteorological station. These are marked by a small circle. The weather report for each station is then plotted in and around the circle. Elements like temperature and pressure are entered as plain figures.

What are the main factors of weather maps? ›

These elements are temperature, rainfall, atmospheric pressure, wind direction, wind velocity, cloud cover and relative humidity. Isobars and weather symbols are used to depict these six elements on the weather map.

What is the conclusion of meteorology? ›

Conclusion. In summary, weather forecasts are increasingly accurate and useful, and their benefits extend widely across the economy. While much has been accomplished in improving weather forecasts, there remains much room for improvement.

What is the most important weather tool? ›

The barometer is one of the most important instruments in weather forecasting. It is used, as the name suggests, to measure localized atmospheric air pressure.

What type of model is used to predict the weather? ›

Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) data are the most familiar form of weather model data. NWP computer models process current weather observations to forecast future weather.

What is the conclusion of meteorological instruments and their uses? ›

Meteorological instruments:

Instruments used to determine the state of the atmosphere at any given time are known as meteorological instruments. The equipment used to measure various atmospheric parameters such as temperature, humidity, pressure, wind speed, and so on is known as meteorological instruments.

What are synoptic features? ›

Synoptic means "view together" or "view at a common point". A synoptic weather map shows weather patterns over a large area by putting together many weather reports from different locations all taken at the same moment in time.

Which element is shown on a synoptic chart? ›

The main weather element shown on a synoptic chart is air pressure . Isobar lines, which join up areas of equal air pressure, are drawn on these maps. The pattern these lines make shows areas of low or high pressure.

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