Website SubHeader Play Weather

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TrailblazerBookmarks WeatherActivity

WebsiteSeparator Play HowItWorks Weather

We think this is a pretty cool experiment. Did you know that salt can lower the freezing point of the water? Adding salt to the ice cube lowers the melting point of the ice and melts a thin layer of water on top of the ice cube. The water temperature cooled down even more and re-froze around the string!

If you live in a place where the weather can get icy cold, your city might spread salt on the roads during the winter. This prevents roads from getting too icy, because salt lowers the melting point of ice.

websiteseparator play concept weather

Why does the sun shine in Austin while it’s raining in Houston?

For starters, weather is caused by the movement of air and water. Because the Earth is round, the sun shines more directly on some areas, like the equator, and less on others, like the poles. This creates different temperatures, which creates air currents that push water and air all around the world.

How much water is in a thunderstorm?

Did you know that about 2,000 thunderstorms rain down on Earth every minute? Clouds may look light and fluffy, but each storm can hold a lot of water. When a storm drops one inch of rain in Houston, that's 10.8 billion gallons of water, or enough to fill 272 million baths! Calculate your own: How much water falls during a storm?

Why is the sky blue?

The short answer is, it’s not blue! But the sky does appear blue for most of the day. Why? The sun gives off a whole spectrum of light. That light then hits the Earth’s atmosphere, which is made up of Nitrogen and Oxygen gas molecules that act as a filter for sunlight.

Longer-wave particles pass through the gas molecules pretty easily, but shorter-wave particles hit the gas molecules and get scattered around. Since blue light has the shortest wavelength, its particles get the most scattered. So when you see a blue sky, you’re really looking at lots of filtered and scattered light particles.

Why is the sky red at sunset?

Because the sun is lower in the sky at sunset, the light has to pass through more of the atmosphere. That means more water vapor and dust particles to filter the sunlight. The more of these particles in the air, the more the blue light is absorbed away, leaving reds and oranges visible.

What makes a rainbow?

A rainbow is sunlight reflected in water droplets in the air.  That’s why you see rainbows right after a rain.  Light enters the water droplet and bounces out, and as it bounces, all the different wavelengths separate out.  A rainbow is actually all the different wavelengths of light stretched out next to each other – with the shortest wavelength (violet) on the bottom and the longest (red) on the top.

How do meteorologists show us weather maps on TV?

When you see a meteorologist on TV, they are standing in front of a map. But guess what? The map isn’t really there. The meteorologist is actually standing in front of a green screen, not in front of a map. The map is added with computer technology.

Green screen technology is used by meteorologists – and in the movie business – to create imaginary worlds. How does a green screen work? Light is made up of a spectrum of colors. Together, all of these colors make white light. Separately, each of these colors has a different wavelength. The blue molecules in light, for instance, have a shorter wavelength than red molecules.

Scientists can use the different wavelengths to filter light by color. Filters block some wavelengths and allow others through. Because green is the color that’s furthest away from human skin tones, a person is most visible against a green background. A video technician uses filters to remove the green background and replace it with a map of the weather, monsters, an imaginary city, or anything else you can dream up.

In the game below, you can filter light by changing the wavelengths. You can view the light as a solid beam, or see the individual photons. What color does the person see if you filter out the green light? What colors can pass through different color filters?

PhET Interactive Simulations, University of Colorado Boulder,

Have fun? Create a green screen in your own classroom!

websiteseparator play virtualreality

The videos below are in 360° Virtual Reality views. You can turn your device in any direction to see all parts of the video, or use your mouse to click through it. If you have a VR headset like Google Cardboard, click the Cardboard icon in the lower right hand corner of the video. The playlist will show you other videos, too!

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WebsiteSeparator Play Jokes

Why do you put on boots when it's raining cats and dogs?
Because you might step in a poodle.

How does a tornado see?
With its eye. 

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WebsiteSeparator Play Explore

TAME's traveling Trailblazers are one-of-a-kind science museums-on-wheels. Exciting, hands-on exhibits teach students about energy, space, weather, biotechnology, and aerodynamics while also introducing them to educational and career opportunities in STEM. Check out what else you can learn from taking a peek inside the Trailblazer's Weather area.

trailblazermuseumdisplays tame weather forecasttheweathertrailblazermuseumdisplays tame weather paleoclimatology

trailblazermuseumdisplays tame weather plasmaballtrailblazermuseumdisplays tame weather tornadotube

trailblazermuseumdisplays tame weather weatherstation

Average salaries calculated for Texas whenever possible. Data gathered in 2015 from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) Program of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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WebsiteSeparator Play GrandChallenges

If you could do one thing to make life on Earth better, what would that thing be?  Here's a Grand Challenge: according to some of the world's smartest people, these are challenges that humans will face in the next 100 years.  What will you do to help solve them?

grandchallenge cleanwater

Water has lots of good uses, but only if it’s clean. Some places don’t have enough and others have too much. If you live near the ocean you have plenty of water, but ocean water is too salty to drink. Some water makes people sick with pollutants.

Can you help think of ways to provide access to clean water for all people?

grandchallenge nitrogencycle

You've heard of the water cycle--but what about the nitrogen cycle? Did you know it's critically important to growing food? It is one of the places where the chemistry of the Earth and life come together, as plants extract nitrogen from their environment, including the air, to make food. Controlling the impact of farming on Earth's nitrogen cycle is a problem that humanity will face in the next hundred years. Engineers can help restore balance to the nitrogen cycle with better fertilization and by capturing and recycling waste.

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WebsiteSeparator Play EngineerYourOwn

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