Miscellaneous Questions About Meteorology
- Grades: 3–5, 6–8
The following questions were answered by meteorologist Al Peterlin.
Q: Is air everywhere equal in pressure?
A: No, air pressure changes frequently. One of the things that makes pressure change is temperature. With high pressure, we usually think of sunny days; with low pressure, cloudy and rainy days. Luckily, pressure changes so we get to enjoy both sunny and cloudy days. (Al Peterlin)
Q: What is an occluded front?
A: The best way to think of an occluded front is to visualize a cold front and a warm front coming together and one riding over the other. In each case, the colder air will remain at the surface, lifting the warmer air. That's why on a weather map we show an occluded front with the symbol of both the warm and cold front. (Al Peterlin)
Q: What is the "dew point"? Is it the temperature at which dew forms? Wouldn't that always be the same because water always freezes at 32 degrees F?
A: Water vapor is an invisible form of water in the air. Warm air can hold more water as vapor than cold air. When the air temperature falls to the dew point temperature, dew will start to form on surfaces or fog can form in the air. Dew point temperature is, in effect, a measure of the amount of moisture in the air. If the temperature and dew point temperature are close together, relative humidity is high and we feel quite uncomfortable — especially in the summer. If the dew point temperature is much lower that the air temperature, the air is dry. Temperature never falls below the dew point temperatures. (Al Peterlin)