AccuWeather Summer Camp: Week 2
🔥 June 19 - Campfire Tales: Winds vs. trees in wet and dry soil
Grab a handful of dirt and a handful of mud – which one is easier to grasp? The dirt, right? Using that same answer, pretend you are a tree and your roots have to hold on when the wind is howling. Would you rather be sitting in dry soil or mud?
Hard to picture that? Let’s watch the video below:
Falling trees or tree branches can be really scary as they can land on homes and cars. Even people taking a walk could get hurt (or worse) if they get hit by a tree knocked down by wind – and it doesn’t have to be during a tornado.
🎶 June 19 - Music hour: Learn ‘Turn Around, Don’t Drown’ catchy song!
It’s easier to remember something with a catchy song – did you learn the alphabet by singing the A-B-C song? It’s so important to remember the phrase “Turn Around, Don’t Drown” when you see floodwaters, so here’s a song to get stuck in your head!
🍳 June 19 - Cooking Activity: Beef up your marshmallows for s’mores!
Before you make s’mores around the campfire, check out this fun marshmallow experiment with AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls:
As Jason pumps air out of the bottle, the air pressure lowers and that causes the tiny pockets of air inside the marshmallows to expand – the result is slightly bigger marshmallows!
Before you get excited about an even better s’more, the marshmallows shrink back down to their original size as soon as air rushes back into the bottle and the air pressure is once again equal inside and outside of the bottle.
Changes in air pressure can also have an impact on storms that bring us rain, wind, snow and other weather. The lower the pressure, the stronger a storm is. Considering how powerful and destructive hurricanes (also known as typhoons and tropical cyclones) can be, it should come at no surprise that these monster storms hold the records for the lowest air pressure measured on Earth.
🔥 June 18 - Campfire Tales: Setting sun is like pulling the power cord on these clouds
Have you ever noticed clouds that bubble up during the day seem to go away after sunset? If you aren’t exactly sure what clouds we are talking about, let’s watch the video below:
As mentioned in the video, the clouds that look like cotton balls in the sky are called cumulus clouds. They typically bubble up as the ground warms, which causes the air to rise and then cool and condense. That is why the day can start out sunny, but the sky is filled with these puffy clouds during the afternoon.
When the sun sets, it’s basically like nature is pulling the power cord out on these clouds. It’s hard for them to stay in the sky (unless there is a cold front causing the air to keep rising). There is no more fuel to keep these clouds bubbling up in the sky, and they will fizzle away and provide you with a great night of stargazing!
⛅️ June 18 - Cloud scavenger hunt: Contrails can help predict the weather!
Have you ever looked up in the sky and saw the streaks of clouds that follow airplanes? These are called contrails and can actually help you predict the weather. Learn this new forecasting trick in the video below!
So what are contrails? Think of chilly mornings when you can see your breath – that’s what happens when the hot and humid air blowing out of the airplane’s exhaust clashes with the cold air way above our heads – instant cloud formation!
🎡 June 18 - Carnival Ride: Fly high in a plane and see contrails form instantly
Let’s take a virtual ride with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, when they flew over New York City in late April to honor those working on the front lines during the coronavirus pandemic.
Did you see the contrails behind the planes? The hot air from the plane’s exhaust instantly cools and condenses and the cloud forms.
The one thing that you can’t see is the cloud condensation nuclei that is also a key ingredient for contrails and all clouds. These are the tiny specks of dust, smoke, pollen or salt floating around that the air condenses into water droplets on when it cools enough. Speaking of things that you don’t see? It’s too hard to count all of the billions of tiny water droplets that team up to form one cloud.
🔥 June 17 - Campfire Tales: Proof that crickets can tell you the temperature!
If you were a student of AccuWeather School, you learned that crickets chirp faster when the air is warmer and slower when it’s cooler. We also found out that you can get a good estimate of the air temperature by counting how many cricket chirps you hear in 14 seconds and add 40 – that will give you the temperature in Fahrenheit (convert to Celsius if you need to).
It’s always easier to believe something if you have proof – and we do! Watch the video below and count how many cricket chirps you hear:
Did you count around 28? Add 40 to that, and you get 68 – which was right around the air temperature that night!
🐞 June 17 - Bug Camp: Keep mosquitoes away this summer!
Have you ever gotten a mosquito bite? They can be annoying and, even worse, mosquitoes are blamed for spreading the dangerous Zika and West Nile viruses.
Did you know that you can stop mosquitoes from multiplying around your home with one simple step after it rains? Find out more from AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Dan Pydynowski:
🦒 June 17 - Petting Zoo: ‘Animal rain’ is real, and it’s not a sci-fi movie!
What would you think if you saw frogs, fish or snakes falling from the sky? Sounds like a scene from a science fiction movie, right? Actually, the AccuWeather This Date in History podcast tells us that “animal rain” actually exists!
Mid-June marks the anniversary of when hundreds of tiny frogs “rained” down on Towbridge, England, in 1939. Let’s listen below and learn why these frogs and other small animals have gotten sucked up from the ground and fell back to the Earth with raindrops in the past – who knew that an umbrella may help you from getting hit in the head by a frog or snake!
🔥 June 16 - Campfire Tales - Dare you to make a raw egg bounce without making a mess!
If we told you that you could drop a raw egg into a bowl and not have it crack open, would you believe us? AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls accepted the challenge, so let’s see if he can do it:
Obviously, Jason didn’t just grab a raw egg from his fridge. He let the egg sit in vinegar for about a day or two before this experiment.
This was really fun to watch, and eggs often help meteorologists understand the weather and science. We learned earlier about inertia thanks to an egg, and we’ve found how air wants to flow from the Hs (high pressure systems) on weather maps to the Ls (storms) by simply exploding an egg in a bottle! Now, who’s hungry and ready for an egg-cellent snack!
🎭 June 16 - Story Time: Take up a new hobby of birdwatching
Since we are having fun with eggs at AccuWeather Summer Camp today, it makes sense to also chat a little about birds. Have you ever stopped to notice all of the different birds around your home?
Birds either stay in one place their entire lives or move back and forth to enjoy more comfortable weather – this second group of birds is called migratory birds. The weather not only determines where they will live during a given season, but also the path they travel.
A male scarlet tanager is seen on a tree on World Migratory Bird Day, Saturday, May 9, 2020, in Lutherville-Timonium, Md. (AP Photo / Julio Cortez)
Think of the last windy day where you live – when the wind is blowing strong, it’s harder to walk into the wind, right? Birds flying to their new home for the winter or summer may take a longer break if they run into winds blowing right at them. On the other hand, they are happy to get an extra push from the wind when it’s blowing on their back – that makes for a fast ride! Sometimes, you can even see a flock of flying birds on radar!
Many people enjoy birdwatching to see all of the colorful birds that live and pass through their area and to hear the birds sing beautiful songs. If you want some great tips to start up a birdwatching hobby, gather around the campfire and listen to this AccuWeather podcast:
🍎 June 16 - Snack Time! Check out this amazing egg trick (and learn about science!)
Look at the image below with a raw egg on top of a toilet paper tube. When AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls hits the side of the plate, what do you think will happen?
Do you think the egg will go flying in the air and smash on the ground or will it land in the glass of water below? Let’s watch and find out:
That wasn’t just luck, but science behind why the egg ended up in the glass and didn’t make a mess around Jason’s house! What you just saw was Isaac Newton’s First Law of Motion, which states that an object at rest remains at rest and an object in motion remains in motion with the same velocity (speed of something in a given direction) unless acted upon. Big word time – this is known as inertia.
The plate and tube will go in the direction of the force applied to the plate when Jason smacked it, but that force doesn’t affect the egg. Instead, inertia will keep the egg in place until gravity pulls the egg straight down into the glass.
In the world of weather, inertia is one of the reasons why you are able to jump in ocean waves this summer.
🔎 June 15 - Weather Detectives! Does cracking your car windows help on a hot day?
We know that cars can get much hotter than the outside air temperature on a sunny day, so many people crack the window a little bit to let the heat out. However, how much does that help? The answer below may surprise you:
If you only crack the window a little bit, it really doesn't make a difference. The car will still get dangerously hot inside for any kids or pets adults leave behind for a quick trip into a store or house (and that can happen really fast).
So, what if we left the windows cracked a little more? We tried this experiment again with the windows down about two inches (five centimeters) and on a day when there was a little more of a breeze to help move the air around. Look at what we found – and the air temperature outside was in the middle to upper 70s F (near 25 C).
There was a difference between the car that had the windows cracked and the one with the windows up, but a temperature near 120 degrees F (49 C) even with the windows cracked open more is still too hot.
So, the safest thing for any adult to do with kids or pets in the backseat is always bring them inside on sunny days in the spring or summer.
🔥 June 15 - Campfire Tales - Water into wine and a lesson about the weather
Here’s an experiment that you definitely need an adult to help you with since it involves wine – tell them that it’s okay to waste a little since it’s for you to learn about the weather! After AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls puts a glass of water on top of a glass of wine, watch the wine and water try to swap places!
How did that work? Water is more dense than wine, so the water sinks to the bottom glass and forces the wine up into the top glass.
We can think of the water as cold air and the wine as warm air to use this trick to understand the weather – cold air is more dense than warm air, and it is the boss of the weather. Cold air sweeping into your area will force warm air up, leading to rain and thunderstorms. In the winter, when cold air doesn’t want to get out of the way of warm air trying to move in, the cold air won’t budge and that can lead to snow or ice.
For another way to understand how cold air can be stubborn, check out this other experiment from Jason when he put cold water (which would act like cold air) on bottom and warm water in the top bottle. Cold water will block the warm water from seeping down!
So if the adult helping you with this experiment doesn't want to waste too much wine, have them put the wine on the top and the water on the bottom – since the water is more dense than the wine, the water will stay put and the wine will be perfect to drink!
🥤 June 15 - Water break! Why do you sweat? (It’s not to get smelly!)
There’s no way to avoid it – if you are playing outside on a hot day, you will sweat. You may find sweat annoying, but it’s actually a good thing for your body. Grab a little hand sanitizer and watch the video below to find out why:
While your body is helping you stay cool as you sweat, you need to do your part and drink extra water or other liquids when it’s hot outside. Did you know that more than half of your body is water? Sweat comes from that water, so if you don’t drink extra on hot days, you’ll get dehydrated and really sick.
Additional experiments and reporting by Jason Nicholls.
Previously:Report a Typo