The Detroit Post
Thursday, 28 October, 2021

Do Extreme Weather Events

James Lee
• Sunday, 29 November, 2020
• 12 min read

For example, sea level rise increases the impacts of coastal storms and warming can place more stress on water supplies during droughts. Top 10 U.S. Disasters by Cost Since 2000 Event and Gatepost in billions (2020 USD) (unadjusted cost)FatalitiesDescription Hurricane Katrina August $2005170.0 ($125) 1,833Hurricane Katrina initially hit as a Category 1 near Miami, Fla., then as a stronger Category 3 along the eastern La.-western Miss.

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A large region of extreme rainfall produced historic flooding across Houston and surrounding areas. The heavy winds caused extensive damage to the island’s agriculture, communication, transportation, and energy infrastructure.

Sandy interrupted critical water and electrical services in major population centers and caused 159 deaths (72 direct, 87 indirect). Sandy also shut down the New York Stock Exchange for two consecutive business days, the first time a weather event caused a closing since a major winter storm in 1888.

Severe wind and storm surge occurred along the coasts of Florida and South Carolina. Irma maintained a maximum sustained wind of 185 mph for 37 hours, the longest in the satellite era.

It was the largest Atlantic hurricane on record by size, causing a considerable storm surge in coastal TX and significant wind and flooding damage in Ark., Ill., Ind., Ky., La., Mich., Mo., Ohio, Pa., Tenn. And Texas. Moderate crop losses occurred across the central agricultural states and the heat caused 53 deaths. Ariz., Calif., Colo., Iowa, Idaho, Ill., Kan., Mich., Minn., Mo., N.D., Neb., N.M., Nev., Okla., Ore., S.D., Texas, Utah, Wash., Wis., Wyo$.201234.2 ($30.0) The 2012 drought was the most extensive since the 1930s.

Costly drought impacts occurred in central states, with widespread harvest failure. The summer heatwave caused 123 direct deaths. Calif., Nev., Idaho, Mont., Wyo., Utah, Colo., Ariz., N.M., Texas, N.D., S.D., Neb., Kan., Okla., Ark., Mo., Iowa, Minn., Ill., Ind., Ga$.201114.0 ($12.0) Drought and heat wave conditions persisted.

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Heart conditions caused to 95 deaths. Ariz., Kan., La., N.M., Okla., Texas$20094.3 ($3.5) Drought conditions persisted across parts of the Southwest, Great Plains, and southern Texas, with Texas and California suffering the most agricultural losses. Ariz., Calif., Kan., N.M., Okla., Texas$20088.6 ($7.0) Severe drought and heat caused agricultural losses in areas of the South and West. Record low lake levels also occurred in areas of the Southeast. Ala., Ark., Calif., Colo., Ga., Idaho, Ind., Kan., Ky., Md., Minn., Miss., Mont., N.C., N.D., N.J., N.M., Ohio, Okla., Ore., S.C., Tenn., Texas, Utah, Va., Wash., Wis$.20074.5 ($3.5) Severe drought with periods of extreme heat resulted in major crop yield loss, reduced stream flows and lake levels, and caused 15 deaths. Ala., Ark., Fla., Ga., Ill., Ind., Iowa, Kan., Ky., La., Mich., Minn., Miss., Mo., N.C., N.D., N.Y., Neb., Ohio, Okla., Pa., S.C., S.D., Tenn., Texas, Va., Wis., W. Va$.20067.8 ($6.0)Severe drought affected crops, caused wildfires and low streams and rivers in the Great Plains and portions of the South and far West. Ala., Ark., Colo., Fla., Ga., Iowa, Kan., La., Minn., Miss., Mo., Mont., N.D., N.M., Neb., Okla., S.D., Texas, Wyo$.20052.0 ($1.5)Severe localized drought caused significant crop losses, especially for corn and soybeans. Ark., Ill., Ind., Mo., Ohio, Wis$.20037.1 ($5.0) Drought across western and central portions of the United States with losses to agriculture.

La., Maine, Md., Mich., Miss., Mo., Mont., Neb., Nev., N.M., N.C., N.D., Ohio, Okla., Ore., Pa., R.I., S.C., S.D., Texas, Utah, Va., Wyo$.20007.6 ($5.0) Severe drought and persistent heat over south-central and southeastern states caused significant losses to agriculture and related industries. Next, they create and revise models of an extreme weather event using knowledge of weather variables.

Students use an interactive graph and long-term datasets, as well as create their own graphical representations of weather data. Students view and discuss a video to create a concept map of interconnections in extreme weather.

(Student responses may vary, but will help give a sense of their current understanding regarding the differences between weather and climate.) Direct students to pay special attention to statements relating these two terms.

Then assign students to complete the rest of the Weather Interconnections Meaning Maker handout using their understanding from their partner discussion of the readings. Prompt students to consider and describe in words on their chart how each term is distinct from the other.

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Assign students an extreme weather focus and facilitate the creation of an initial meteorological model of this event. Explain to students that the next few activities will focus on an extreme weather event of their choice: droughts, hurricanes, or tornadoes.

Form small groups of three to four students based on their preferences for each of these events, and provide each group a link to the appropriate resource(s) relevant to their weather type and its impacts: Instruct each small group to use their assigned video to determine and record causes and effects of their extreme weather event on the T-chart in Part A of their Extreme Weather Model Builder handout. Assign each small group to use the video and their chart to draw an initial systems diagram model of their extreme weather event in Part B of their Extreme Weather Model Builder handout.

Students read encyclopedia entries to define key variables associated with weather. Next, they use a weather station or online source to collect and graph current local data for these variables.

Finally, they incorporate these variables to revise their extreme weather models from the Weather Interconnections activity, and discuss factors common and unique to extremeweatherevents. Go outside briefly, or open classroom windows and ask students to quickly brainstorm everything they can see, hear, smell, or feel to describe the weather at this moment in time.

Next, challenge students to identify the six variables used by professionals to describe weather conditions. Assign all students to record accurate consensus definitions for each term to complete the table in Part C of the Extreme Weather Model Builder.

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This will be used to gather data on temperature and precipitation (and other variables, if desired) throughout the Extreme Weather lesson. Incorporate this data point onto a class temperature point/line graph that will last for the next three days (this and the following two activities, Weather, Meet Climate, and Now and Then).

Prompt students to check the temperature graph for critical elements discussed in the Global Trends activity: title, axis labels, and key. Have students continue to work in the same Weather Data Collection groups from Step 1.

Project the National Weather Service site as you enter your zip code in the upper left corner of the page, then click on the “3 Day History” link at right-center. The graphs and chart that appear give hourly data, of which students only need the most recent (first) entry.

Orient students to this chart, and help the groups identify the most recent (first) entry for their variable. Assign students to incorporate this data onto the first day of a point/line graph, mirroring the one that you created for temperature.

Prompt students to revise their extreme weather event models with additional research. Ask groups to choose one members revised weather model (Part E) to post in a visible location in the classroom.

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Step 2: Students may wish to explore additional elements of the National Weather Service website, including the “Active Alerts” and “Rivers, Lakes, and Rainfall” tabs. This can be done either daily if data collection during this and the following two activities span a weekend, or by incorporating more hourly information from the three-day forecast.

They then clarify the distinctions and connections between weather and climate by viewing and discussing an interactive graph of billion-dollar weather events. Finally, they read to address hypotheses regarding the future frequency of extremeweatherevents in light of global warming.

Students may need a reminder to enter their zip code in the upper left corner of the page, and then click on the “3 Day History” link at right-center, but should collect data today in small groups, rather than as a class, and with limited teacher assistance. Clarify the distinctions and connections between weather and climate by viewing and discussing an interactive graph with students.

However, long term patterns, such as the increase in severe, billion-dollar storms since 1980 that students likely identified above, represent information on climate.) Support students as they read to address hypotheses regarding the future frequency of extremeweatherevents.

Direct students to create a final extreme weather model incorporating the effects of global warming and climate change. With evidence from the article, direct students to revisit their revised extreme weather model (Part E) again, noting what information (text and/or visual) would be necessary to incorporate the role of global warming and climate change in this weather event (Part H).

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On a large piece of chart paper, ask each group to draw a final model incorporating: Text and visuals to accurately depict the extreme weather event’s formation (from Part E). Encourage students to articulate any recent insights or remaining questions regarding the connections between weather and broader patterns of global warming and climate change.

Emphasize that the extreme weather events they have been exploring are related to climate change. Use the ExtremeWeather Model Rubric to formally assess students’ progress towards GNSS PE MS-ESS2-5 : Collect data to provide evidence for how the motions and complex interactions of air masses results in changes in weather conditions.

Step 2: You may wish to download data from the interactive Billion-Dollar Weather and Climate Disasters: Time Series Graph to practice additional analyses with students. Or you may choose to assign additional research into specific extremeweatherevents, such as Hurricane Katrina of 2005, the El Reno tornado of 2013, or the Camp Fire of 2018.

You may also wish to add discussion of the human and economic dimensions of such events, possibly in conjunction with students’ social studies educators. They then compare their values to graphs depicting state climate data collected over long timescales to introduce the concept of variation.

Finally, students calculate summary statistics for a focal state, moving from working by hand to using a digital spreadsheet program. For example, a time they can remember when it was so humid the air felt heavy, or when it was cloudy for a month without sight of the sun.

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Calculate summary statistics (mean, median, range) for temperature from your graph in a visible place. Remind students to return to their previous notes for definitions and example calculations, if needed.

(For most, if not all states, it is evident that, despite variation in data, temperatures in the years since 2000 are rising well above the mean for the period before that time.) Support students as they calculate summary statistics with a digital spreadsheet program.

Prompt each group to choose a focal state (not your own) that routinely experiences their extreme weather event: Hurricane groups should choose a state in the Southeastern U.S. (for example, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, or Mississippi). Tornado groups should choose a state in the Midwestern U.S. (for example, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, or Iowa).

(for example, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Montana, Idaho, or California). Model for students how to copy and calculate summary statistics digitally for this state: As students watch, transfer the data for your own state’s NOAA: Climate at a Glance: Statewide Time Series graph for temperature into a digital spreadsheet software.

Assign extreme weather groups to copy the same data for their focal state. Then prompt students to do the same with their extreme weather focal state for the first and last complete decades.

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Students practice gathering, charting, and graphing simple data from the class weather station digitally. They then use these skills to graph climatic data gathered in the previous activity for a focal state that experiences their extreme weather type.

Finally, students read to identify technological strategies for responding to the harm of extremeweatherevents. Model and support students as they digitally chart and graph weather station data.

With each group working together on a single copy of the file, ask them to recreate a digital graph of the same data alongside you. It should match the graph they have been creating by hand during the Meteorological Models, Weather, Meet Climate, and Now and Then activities.

Model and support students as they digitally graph mean decade temperature data. Return to the evidence-based comparison and digital chart of the summary statistics from the Now and Then activity in which you recorded mean, median, and range of temperatures for your state over the earliest and most recent full decades available.

Explain how the graph supports the evidence-based comparison of these decades that students constructed in the previous activity. Prompt weather data collection groups to create similar point/line graphs.

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Briefly discuss the value of representing data in graphical form by asking: How does your graph support the evidence-based comparison you made in the previous activity? Look for students' responses comparing the ease or persuasiveness of examining data in these two forms.

Clarify for students that examples of technology from the above articles can be as complicated as a drone with scientific equipment used for weather monitoring, and as simple as a basement storm shelter. Prompt student groups to choose at least three of these technologies and record them below their temperature graph.

Finally, lead a debrief discussion to revisit the class Know and Need to Know chart, prompting students to share any new insights related to their data analysis and visualization of changing temperatures in relation to extreme weather and climate. Use the Weather Meets Climate Rubric to formally assess students progress towards GNSS PE MS-ESS3-2 : Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects.

Identify technological strategies to respond to the effects of extreme weather events. Collect and graph current local data on key weather variables.

Discuss the concept of statistical variation, using examples from local weather and climate data. Revise a model of an extreme weather event to incorporate the role of global warming and climate change.

Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy CSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.4 : Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 6-8 texts and topics. Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table). Next Generation Science Standards Crosscutting Concept 1 : Patterns Crosscutting Concept 2: Cause and Effect : Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural or designed systems.

MS-ESS2-5 : Collect data to provide evidence for how the motions and complex interactions of air masses results in changes in weather conditions. MS-ESS3-2 : Analyze and interpret data on natural hazards to forecast future catastrophic events and inform the development of technologies to mitigate their effects.

Depending on the type of extreme weather event, shifts in frequency and intensity may or may not be related to global warming and climate change. Force per unit area exerted by the mass of the atmosphere as gravity pulls it to Earth.

Rare and severe events in the Earth's atmosphere, such as heat waves or powerful cyclones. A violently rotating column of air that forms at the bottom of a cloud and touches the ground.

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