Satellites and Storms Activity #2

Thar She Blows!

Kevin Goff and Susan Haynes, Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Grade Level
Lesson Time
60 min

Hurricane, Northeaster, NorÂ’easter, Low pressure, Wind barb, Coriolis, Fetch
Materials Required

edited and updated by Carol Hopper Brill and Chris Petrone, Virginia Sea Grant, Virginia Institute of Marine Science Summary
Investigate weather patterns, weather maps and the effects weather has on the ocean, all using real ocean observing system data.

Go to Oceanweather, Inc. This site uses satellites to relay real-time meteorological data collected from different sources: buoys, ships and coastal stations.

The "flags" scattered around the map are wind barbs that indicate wind velocity and direction. Red flags represent data collected by weather buoys, blue indicates information collected by ships.

Data Activity

  1. Find wind barbs indicating wind speeds of: 0-5 kt; 10-20 kt; 30-40 kt, 50+ kt.
  2. What direction are winds blowing off the SE coast of the US (south of Cape Hatteras)?
  3. What direction are winds blowing off the NE coast of the US (north of Cape Cod)?
  4. Is there a pattern to the wind directions in the middle of the North Atlantic? How is this pattern related to ocean surface currents in the North Atlantic? Could this circulation pattern influence the path that hurricanes often follow?

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