AccuWeather Summer Camp: Week 3
🔥 June 26 - Campfire Tales: Lightning bugs are just looking for a date!
Have you ever spent a summer evening collecting lightning bugs (known as fireflies to some) in a jar? It is cool to see them light up your jar, but did you know that they light up because they are looking for a new boyfriend or girlfriend!
While lightning bolts heat up the air to a temperature five times hotter than the surface of the sun (wow!), the light from fireflies doesn’t produce any heat. That means that lightning bugs are the most efficient light producers in the world – even better than any of the lightbulbs around your home! If you get close to a lamp, you will feel at least a little warmth emitting from it.
Lightning bugs are found on every continent except Antarctica (just like tornadoes!), our friends at Firefly Conservation and Research told us, and they estimate there are more than 170 species just in North America. Have you ever noticed that the blinking light you see from fireflies is not always the same? That’s because different species have their own blinking pattern.
Don’t forget to open your jar and let the lightning bugs out after you’ve watched them light up your jar – the adults only live 3-4 weeks, and they want to spend that time with their new significant others and friends!
🍳 June 26 - Cooking Activity: Forget the campfire; use the sun to make s’mores
Do you love eating s’mores in the summer? If you don’t want to wait until the evening to start a campfire and make these yummy treats, have the sun do the work!
All you need is a dark-colored shirt, a glass pan, the ingredients to make s’mores and a sunny day:
Not only did we get to enjoy a tasty snack, but we see how strong the sun is. It wasn’t a very hot day when the sun cooked these s’mores – the high temperature was near 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees Celsius). Much like how a greenhouse works, the glass holds in the warmth from the sun and allows the marshmallows to cook and get all gooey.
Your car can also turn into a greenhouse with its windows up and no air conditioning on during the late spring or summer. That can make it very dangerous for any kids or pets left behind as an adult runs inside for a quick errand.
🔎 June 26 - Weather Detectives! Something in space helps predict the weather
Satellites show where clouds are covering the sky around the globe. Without this information, meteorologists may not know a hurricane is churning in the ocean or a storm is approaching North America or another continent. Radar is primarily used only over land, and there aren’t many weather stations telling us what is happening over the ocean – so clouds signal bad weather is approaching and help meteorologists make a great forecast.
How many weather satellites do you think are orbiting Earth in outer space right now? Let’s hear the answer and learn more about this important tool for meteorologists in AccuWeather’s This Date in Weather History podcast:
🔥 June 25 - Campfire Tales: Should Greenland and Iceland flip names?
Greenland is an island that is mostly ice in the northern Atlantic Ocean. Iceland sounds like a perfect place to film the movie Frozen, but there isn’t that much ice on this island. So why don’t these islands flip names?
We will be all ready for Jeopardy! after we hear the answer from AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alan Reppert:
After all of this talk of ice, who is looking forward to winter and snow? While you won’t see any falling snow unless you are in the Southern Hemisphere, we can re-watch this funny video of a panda playing in the snow!
🍳 June 25 - Cooking Activity: Ice hates this type of kryptonite
We all know that Superman is one strong hero until he comes near green kryptonite, but did you know that ice is also scared of another kryptonite? It’s not just warm air that will melt ice, but also something you can find in your kitchen – salt.
An ice cube should stay frozen if the air temperature is 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) or lower, right? That’s not the case if salt is sprinkled on the ice. Salt will cause the ice to start melting even if the temperature is still below freezing. Let’s see how quick ice reacts to its salty kryptonite:
🥤 June 25 - Water break! Winter rewind: Can ocean water freeze?
For most, when standing along the ocean with snow covering the sand, they will see that the waves will keep crashing onto the beach. You may think that the air is cold enough for the ocean to freeze, but why doesn’t it? One of the main reasons is why you don’t drink seawater – it’s very salty!
At what temperature does water freeze? If you said, "32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius," you get a gold star! In the ocean, there is enough salt to drop the temperature at which the ocean will freeze down to 28.4 F, or 2 below zero C. At the beaches most of us visit, the air doesn’t get that cold long enough for the ocean to freeze – and the never-ending waves also keep the ocean from freezing as fast as lakes and ponds near your home.
The ocean will freeze if the air is cold enough. At least 15 percent of the ocean on Earth will freeze at some point in the year, our friends at NOAA said.
🔥 June 24 - Campfire Tales: How can some raindrops get so big?
If you are outside playing in the rain, you’ve likely noticed the times when big, fat raindrops hit you in the head. Other times, you may not care when smaller raindrops get you wet as you are singing in the rain or jumping in puddles.
It’s time to gather around the campfire and find out how some raindrops can get so big in a cloud:
If you don’t want to stand outside and get soaked to figure out if big or small raindrops are falling, radars can give you a clue. When you see pockets of red or orange on radar, that typically means that heavy rain (larger raindrops) are pouring down. Green tells us that the rain is lighter, but you will still need an umbrella!
🎨 June 24 - Art Station: Wow your friends with ‘floating art’
Since we are learning about rain, here’s a rainy day or evening activity that will wow your friends. Let’s see how to make “floating art” with just a few simple items around your home – glass or ceramic plate, dry erase markers and water:
AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls taught us this fun activity as a way to pass the time during a thunderstorm. Don’t forget that you should always wait 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder before heading back out to play. Why so long? You need to make sure a very dangerous “bolt from the blue” will not occur.
🔬 June 24 - Invention Station: Make it rain on a sunny day!
All you need is shaving cream, a jar filled with water and separate bowls with water dyed with your favorite colors. As AccuWeather Meteorologist Renee Duff shows us, you can give your cloud any shape and see the rain streak down to the ground.
Notice how the rain doesn’t reach the ground right away. If the air near where we are standing is too dry, the rain falling from the clouds will evaporate before reaching us – big word time – that’s called virga. One tip meteorologists look for to see if there is virga in the sky, they see if there are any doughnut holes on radar!
🔥 June 23 - Campfire Tales: Why do tornadoes sound like a train is coming?
It’s not just a scary sight when a tornado is threatening an area. The sound of an approaching storm will make you run and hide – which is what you should do when a tornado warning is issued for your community! Some people have said that an approaching tornado sounds like a freight train. Why is that? Let’s check in with AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alan Reppert:
As Alan said, you shouldn’t wait until you hear what sounds like a train before heading to your tornado shelter. So when should you head to your basement or lowest level of your home (away from windows); is it when you hear that a tornado watch or warning has been issued? If you said tornado warning, you get a gold star!
Tornado Warning = A tornado is on the ground or a severe thunderstorm is showing signs of forming a tornado and threatening homes = seek shelter right away!
Tornado Watch = No tornado is threatening your home right away, but all the ingredients are in the air for tornadoes to form = watch the sky and your weather app and be ready to seek shelter as soon as a warning is issued.
🎭 June 23 - Story Time: One of the oldest hurricane stories you may ever hear
You may have only heard of hurricane names that date back to the 1950s, but hurricanes (known as typhoons and tropical cyclones in parts of the world outside of the United States region) have been around since the beginning of time.
While hurricanes make the news because of the destruction they can cause, there is a reason they form – they help to spread warmth from the tropics to other parts of the world. There is a big temperature difference between the equator and the North Pole, so hurricanes do their part to make things more equal. The problem is that as hurricanes are moving heat around the world, they can produce really bad flooding and powerful winds.
OK, back to story time. You’ve likely heard horrible news about hurricanes Katrina, Sandy and Michael, but AccuWeather’s This Date in Weather History podcast has one of the oldest hurricane stories you may ever hear. Hear the story from when a hurricane struck an island off the coast of what is now North Carolina way back in 1586:
🔎 June 23 - Weather Detectives! What do a tree trunk and hail have in common?
Hail and a tree trunk? One is a ball of ice that falls from a thunderstorm; the other is found in your yard or a nearby park – so what could these two things have in common? Let’s find out below:
A tree trunk gets a ring every year it is alive; a hailstone gets a ring every time it takes a ferris wheel ride in a thunderstorm. The more times a hailstone goes up and down in a thunderstorm, the larger it will get.
Hailstones can be as small as peas or as large as baseballs, softballs and even grapefruit. The largest hailstone to ever hit the United States was around the size of a volleyball! Not only would that have had many rings, but it would have been extremely dangerous.
🔥 June 22 - Campfire Tales: How Mother Nature creates a gorgeous sunset
Your answer would be “blue” if someone asks you what color is the sky, right? But why does the sky look like an artist’s masterpiece during sunrise or sunset with pretty red and orange colors? Check out this gorgeous sunset from central Pennsylvania and find out why:
One thing to note is that it was said that blue has the shortest wavelength of all of the colors of the rainbow in the video above. We don’t want to give you any false information – blue has one of the shortest, but not the actual shortest. (Krissy was a little too excited about the stunning sunset and misspoke!)
Is purple your favorite color? You may also see that color fill the sky, especially if there is ash from a volcano or wildfires high in the air.
🦒 June 22 - Petting Zoo: Don’t let your dog’s paws get burnt!
If the sun is shining and it isn’t too hot outside, you may think that it is a perfect day to take your dog for a walk outside. However, be careful in the late spring and summer – the pavement may be surprisingly too hot for your dog’s paws.
If the air temperature is around 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24 degrees Celsius), what do you think is the temperature of pavement that has been sitting in the sun all morning? How about that same pavement but has been kept in the shade? Let’s find out:
Was that surprising to you? Your dog hopes you remember this for your walk on a sunny day. He or she may like a walk through a park or on grass instead of the hot pavement!
🎨 June 22 - Art Station: Make your own party popper
Here’s a fun art activity just in time for any birthday parties, the Fourth of July or any other festivities you and your family have planned – make your own party popper.
All you need is a toilet paper tube, a balloon and homemade confetti, and follow the instructions from AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls. Have fun!
If you are trying to give your party popper a weather theme – how about cutting up all of the colors of the rainbow for your homemade confetti? Do you love fall and the pretty colors of the leaves? You can make your confetti red, orange and yellow.
Additional experiments and reporting by Jason Nicholls.
Previously:Report a Typo