16 January 2015,
Hello Bulb Buddies,
Thank you for sending in last weeks readings. The weather has definitely been getting colder – and some of you have even reported snow! For this reason I want to talk to you about how Meteorologists (weather scientists) measure snow.
It is a lot trickier to measure the amount of snow that falls than it is to measure the amount of rain. This is because snow misbehaves! Snow is often blown by the wind into drifts, which causes some areas of deep snow and less snow in the areas around it. Because the snow fall is uneven the measurements from these places will be wrong! This is why we have to measure snow on flat surfaces, in the open and away from areas where drifts happen! Snow also likes to play games with Meteorologists who want to measure it, it melts into water and re-freezes into ice! This means that the snow measured on the ground isn’t always the same as the amount of snow that has fallen. Another problem is that new snow settles on old snow, so it is difficult to tell how much snow has fallen in one day from the snow that fell the day before!
Meteorologists have to take all these tricks the snow plays, and work around them to discover how much snow has fallen. They look at snow fall (the amount of snow that falls in one day) and snow depth (how deep the total snow level is, old snow and new snow). One way that Meteorologists measure snow fall is to use a piece of ply wood. They place the wood in an open location away from areas where snow drifts occur, and measure the snow on the board at 6hr intervals, clearing the snow from the board each time they measure it. This means they are only measuring the snow from that day, which will tell them how much snow has fallen on that day in that area!
Snow fall can also be measured in its melted state, as water. This means that you can use your rain gauge to measure the water equivalent of snow fall! If you only get a bit of snow then it should melt in your rain gauge anyway. But if you get a lot of snow, take your rain gauge inside to the warm and wait for the snow to melt into water. Then measure the water in the same way as you have done each week and report this as rain fall in your weather logs.
If you have snow and enough time for an extra experiment – why not have a go at measuring snow depth? To do this all you need is a ruler (also known as a snow stick!). Place the snow stick into the snow until it touches the surface underneath, and read the depth of the snow.You need to take these measurements from flat surfaces (benches work well) in open areas and away from snow drifts! You need to take at least three separate measurements to work out the average snow depth in your area. You work out the average measurement by adding the different readings together and dividing them by the number of measurements. So, if I measured the snow depth of three surfaces at 7cm, 9cm and 6cm, I would add these together (7+9+6 =22) and divide that by three, because there are three readings (22÷3=7.33). So 7.33 would be my average reading for snow depth on that date.
Weather stations such as the MET Office have come up with new ways of measuring snow depth, using new technologies. The picture below shows one of the MET Offices snow stations. These use laser sensors to measure how deep the snow is on the flat surface placed below it. This means that Meteorologists can collect readings from all over the country at the push of a button – which is far more reliable and a lot easier than sending people out into the cold with snow sticks! The map below shows how many snow stations the MET office has and where these are, is there one close to you?
If you have snow and measure the snow fall with your rain gauge or the snow depth with a snow stick, then please tell me in the ‘comments’ section when you are logging your weekly records! I would be very interested to know what the snow depth is compared to the snow fall collected in your rain gauge!
Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies,
9 January 2015,
Welcome back Bulb Buddies,
I hope you enjoyed your holidays! How are your daffodils and crocuses? Before we broke-up for Christmas a number of schools had written to tell me that their daffodils and mystery bulbs had begun to show above the soil! How are yours getting along? You can update me on how much your plants have grown by adding to the ‘comment’ section when you send in your data. C from Ysgol Y Plas has been very good at this, informing me that “13 bulbs have started to show in pots and 3 in the garden”. It’s always exciting when you see the first shoots begin to show!
Last year the first daffodil flowered on the 10th of February, although the average date for flowering was 12th March. So keep an eye on them – it won’t be long now! Remember to measure the height of your flowers on the day they bloom. We will then look at all the dates and heights recorded to find an average date and height and this will help us to spot any changing patterns when we compare our findings to those of previous and future years!
Remember, flowers need sunlight, warmth and water to grow. Last year was the third warmest year since the project began in 2006, with an average temperature of 6.0°. 2013-2014 also saw the highest rainfall at 187mm, but was the second lowest year in terms of sunlight hours with an average of 69 hours. This meant that our plants bloomed earlier than they did in 2012-2013, which had been much colder with slightly less rain and less sunlight hours. What has the weather been like where you live? Do you think our flowers will bloom earlier or later than they did last year?
I look forward to seeing your data this week!
Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies,
Your comments, my answers:
Morningside Primary School: It was very cold and very very wet this week at Morningside! There was also a little bit of snow on the ground, that would have perhaps melted in our rain gauge! Prof P: Snow, how exciting! You are right about the snow melting in the rain gauge. This is because the ground will have been colder than the plastic of the rain gauge, especially if there was already rain water in the gauge when the snow fell. Your rain gauge can be used to measure snow fall the same as rain fall, and I will talk more about this in my next blog!
Newport Primary School: On Tuesday 2nd Dec we moved the thermometer because we believed there wasn't enough variation in temperature being shown on the thermometer where it was positioned. It was in a slightly sheltered spot. When we moved it the recorded temperatures dropped considerably backing up our impressions. Prof P: Well done for spotting this Newport Primary! It’s surprising how much difference location can make to the readings. Ideally, your thermometer should be placed in an open, shaded area, to the North of the school and some distance from the building. This is because direct sunlight, shelter from the wind and heat reflected from surfaces or emitted from buildings can cause higher, inaccurate readings.
Glyncollen Primary School: Thank you for the new thermometer. We think one of our bulbs is starting to grow because the weather has been quite mild. We are going to be watching it carefully. Has this happened in any other school? Prof P: Hi Glyncollen Primary School, I’m glad the new thermometer arrived safely! Well done on noting how the weather has effected your plants. I have looked through your weather records and can see that the temperature only really dipped in your area in weeks 49 and 50. The rainfall early on after planting and the mild temperatures will definitely have helped your Baby Bulbs to grow! Some other schools have also reported seeing their first shoots, these include The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School and Silverdale St. John's CE School.
Bickerstaffe CE Primary School: We have noticed that some daffodils planted some years ago have grown new leaves to a height of about 150mm. They are in a quite sheltered spot close to the school buildings, if we remember we will take a photo and send it. The children wonder if these bulbs may be a different type or have come from a different country. Prof P: Hi Bickerstaffe CE Primary School! It’s nice to hear that plants have started growing! These Daffodils are probably a different variety to the ones we are growing. There are many different types, and some have been known to flower as early as November! If you send me a photo once the daffodils have bloomed I will see if I can identify it for you!
Glencoats Primary School: Glencoats primary are enjoying looking after their bulbs. It will make our Eco garden nice and colourful. Thank you for choosing us to be part of this project. Prof P: Thank you for taking part in the project Glencoats Primary School. I would very much like to see a photo of the Eco garden once all the flowers have bloomed!
12 December 2014,
Hello bulb buddies!
Merry Christmas and many thanks for sending me your data. Keep it coming!
We are getting an interesting picture of how the weather has varied across the country. Last week, Carnforth North Road Primary School in Lancashire, England reported a low temperature of 3°C and Mossend Primary School Primary School in Bellshill, Scotland reported 13°C for the same day! That’s quite a difference! If you’ve had extreme weather you can use the map to look at records from other schools on the same day and compare. Let me know if you find anything interesting!
I’m very interested to see what your records show for the last week. The Met Office (the UK’s official weather service) predicted colder temperatures and perhaps even snow in some areas! If you have snow perhaps you could ask your teacher to send in pictures, I would love to see them and might even post some on the bulb blog.
A yellow warning was given for wind, snow and ice in some areas of the UK. A yellow warning means that there is a possibility of bad weather in some parts of the country. The Met Office warn us about bad weather so that we can be prepared for it. This is because extreme weather (such as strong winds and ice) can cause difficulties and make it harder to travel. Sometimes roads, train lines and even schools close because of bad weather.
The colour chart below shows other colours used as a code for how strong the weather is.
Green: weather not expected to be extreme.
Yellow: possibility of extreme weather so you should be aware of it.
Amber (orange): strong chance of the weather effecting you in some way, so be prepared.
Red: extreme weather expected, on red warning days your parents might check for road closures before planning journeys.
The Met Office also use symbols to indicate what type of weather to expect. The symbols below show (in order) a red warning for rain, green for wind and snow, amber for ice and green for fog. This means there will be heavy rain and that you should prepare for ice. Why not have a look at the Met Office website and see what the weather forecast is for where you live?
Keep up the good work bulb buddies!
Your questions, my answers:
Stanford in the Vale Primary School - Lots of rain on Monday, then hardly any during the week! The weather has started to get really cold, especially on Wednesday and frost this morning on Friday, the children are still hoping for snow!!!The children have made up a song for recording the weather and temperature - so we have named them the singing scientists. Prof P - Hello Singing Scientists, what a fantastic nickname! You all sound like a happy bunch and I’m sure that all the singing can only be benefiting your bulbs! Could you possibly send me your song lyrics or a recording of you singing? You are not the only school to have noted Wednesday as cold! Both Ysgol Rhys Prichard and Ysgol Hiraddug commented that they had heavy ground frost on Wednesday.
Glyncollen Primary School - One of our mystery bulbs is also starting to grow. We are all wondering what flower it is going to be. We are enjoying this project. Thank you Professor Plant. Blwyddyn 4. Prof P – Hello Bwyddyn 4, I’m so glad you are enjoying the project! It’s very exciting that your mystery bulb has started growing! Could you send me a picture? And keep me updated, I’d like to know when it flowers and what you think it might be!
St. Ignatius Primary School – lots of our plants have died already! Prof P – Hello St. Ignatius, I’m very sorry to hear that you are having trouble with your bulbs. I will be in touch to find out more. Meanwhile, if any other schools are experiencing problems please get in touch!
24 November 2014,
Hello bulb buddies!
I hope you are all having fun recording the weather information. You’re doing a great job so far.
The weather is very chilly this morning (Monday 24th of November). Last night the temperature in Cardiff fell to 0°C and we had our first proper frost of the year. The temperature was as low as -3°C in some parts of England and Wales. Brrr!
But this cold weather is nothing compared to what some parts of America have been experiencing in the past week. In some areas in the northeast of the country the temperature fell to -15°C. Some places also had two metres of snow! Now that is wintry weather.
The good news is that forecasters do not think that the cold and snow are going to come across the Atlantic to the UK. So no snowmen for us just yet.
What does cold weather mean for our bulbs? Lots of plants don’t like the cold and will perish if it gets too cold. This is why lots of gardeners worry about frost, because it can hurt their plants.
But because we planted our bulbs in the ground, they will be just fine. The earth that we covered them with acts like a warm blanket to keep our baby bulbs nice and cosy. Why don’t you make an origami booklet about the life of a bulb, which you can find here?
You should all now be recording the temperature and rainfall each day and don’t forget to record your results at the end of each week on our website.
Keep up the good work!
Your questions, my answers:
Ysgol Y Plas - Every day we tip out the water out but on fridays we tip it out then leave over the weekend and then take the rain fall on monday. So on monday the water measurement is from the weekend as well as that day, from c. Prof P – That’s perfect, keep up the good work!
Keir Hardie Memorial Primary School - On Wednesday we forgot to empty the rainfall catcher so we think this is why the rainfall is so high. Prof P – Don’t worry, even the best scientists make mistakes. If you wanted to be really clever you could use maths to work out Thursday’s rainfall. Take away Wednesday’s rain from Thursday’s to see how much rain fell on Thursday.
Saint Anthony's Primary School - We are enjoying the project so far. It's has been fun planting all the bulbs and we can't wait until they grow. We decorated name tags and put them on plant pots to plant our bulbs in. R and L. I have noticed that even when there has been a big rainfall, there is still very little water in the rain gauge. Prof P – Well done everyone at Saint Anthony’s. Your name tags sound great! Perhaps you could ask your teacher to take a photo and send it to me? If your rain gauge isn’t catching water, make sure that there is nothing near it which could stop the rain from falling into it.
Burscough Bridge Methodist School - Again apologises the data is late due to the damages to the equipment, however it is all back up and working. Prof P – Hello to everyone at Burscough Bridge! Don’t worry about being late, just do the best you can. I’m sorry that your equipment got damaged. If there is anything I can do to help then just let me know.
Tongwynlais Primary School - We are really enjoying measuring the weather! We haven't had to water our plants yet as we've had so much rain! Prof P – Hello Tongwynlais, I’m glad you’re enjoying the project. Not having to water your plants is one of the many reasons it is so good to live in Wales!
Ysgol Talybont - We've looked on your map to check our previous observations but it is just saying no data received. Could you please check and contact us if we are doing something wrong on inputting the information Prof P - Hi Talybont. I think I have solved the problem, it was nothing that you were doing wrong! Try the map again and let me know if you have any further issues.
Ysgol Nant Y Coed - We had lots of fun, there wasn’t that much rainfall. Thank you for choosing our school to do it. Prof P – I’m sure there will be plenty of rainfall for you to record in the next few months! Thank you for taking part Nant Y Coed!
21 November 2014,
Hello bulb buddies!
St. Paul's Primary School:
My name is A and I am 9 years old. It is my job all next week to take the weather measurements for you. I think I will enjoy it as I love being in the garden. Prof P – Hello Aiden and everyone else at St Paul’s. It sounds like you are doing a great job recording the weather. Keep up the good work!
Kilmory Primary School:
unable to record rainfall accurately Thurs 22mm Friday 26mm. Prof P – Hi Kilmory, do you need any help with measuring rainfall? Or was your gauge just knocked over?
St. Brigid's School:
It has been a cold and wet start to our bulb investigation. We have all made labels and they are standing up nicely in their pots in a safe part of the school. We are all looking forward to seeing the final results. Prof P – Well done to everybody at St Brigid’s. I hope you all had lots of fun planting and making labels. I’m looking forward to seeing your results too!
Ysgol Rhys Prichard:
Very windy on Thursday and heavy rain over night Crisp and clear on Bonfire Night. Very windy on Thursday 13th. A tree blew down near school. Prof P – Da iawn Ysgol Rhys Prichard. Great weather reporting. I hope you all had a good Bonfire Night!
Llanharan Primary School:
Is Monday's rainfall a record of all the rain caught on the weekend? Prof P – Hi everyone at Llanharan. This is a really good question. Yes it is, otherwise we would have no record of the rain that falls over the weekend. I can see that you have already done this for last week’s data, so good job!
Rougemont Junior School:
We planted our baby bulbs on the 27th in line with Scotland. Please remember Professor we were on holiday when Wales were planting. What with fireworks and the cold snap of weather we hope they are tucked up safe and warm! Rougemont year 5 and 6. Prof P – Good job Rougemont. I hope you all enjoyed your holiday. I’ll be sure to remember that you started on the 27th. Your bulbs are tucked up in a nice blanket of soil so they don’t need to worry about the cold!
Bickerstaffe CE Primary School:
We will do as many as we can through the week, can't guarantee every day. Readings will all be taken close to 9.00 a.m.
Rain recorded on Tuesday morning will have been the total for Sat, Sun and Monday
Prof P – Hello Bickerstaffe! Don’t worry if you miss a few days, just do as much as you can. If possible it might be better to take the weather measurements in the afternoon so you get a better picture of that day’s conditions. But as long as you record at roughly the same time each day then it doesn’t really matter.
Guardbridge Primary School:
It rained a lot on Friday. Prof P – Hello Guardbridge, well done for watching the weather closely. It rained a lot in Wales on that day too.
Rivington Foundation Primary School:
Friday was a very rainy day! Prof P – Oh dear! I hope you all stayed warm and dry inside.
The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School:
We are really excited at being involved in this project. We have enjoyed clearing the weeds to plant our daffodils and planting all our bulbs. It is fun taking turns to check the rainfall and temperature. Prof P – Hello to everyone at the Blessed Sacrament. It sounds like you all worked very hard planting your bulbs, well done!
Stanford in the Vale Primary School:
A very cold start to the day on Tuesday and Wednesday! Lots and lots of rain Thursday night....bright blue clear sky today! And the sun is shinning. Prof P – Great weather reporting. It’s nice to hear the sun is shining in Oxfordshire!
St. Paul's Primary School:
hi its its been really raining this week. Prof P – Thanks for the weather information! I’m sorry that you’ve had a rainy week, but at least the plants won’t be thirsty!
Glyncollen Primary School:
We are really enjoying taking care of our bulbs and reading the rainfall and temperature measurements.
We are not sure if our thermometer is working properly because it has been giving us high readings and the weather has been colder this week. On Wednesday we put a new thermometer outside and our readings now seem closer to what the weather forecast says. Is it possible for you to send us a new thermometer please? Diolch yn fawr. Blwyddyn 4 Prof P – Da iawn Glyncollen! I’m really glad you’re enjoying the project. You’re right, your temperature readings do seem very high. I’ll send you a new thermometer as soon as possible.
Ysgol Iau Hen Golwyn:
Hi. We are year 4 in Ysgol Hen Golwyn. We like doing the project and we have completed the first week. We like your beard. Some of our pots were knocked over and the rain gauge was tipped over too but everything is going to plan now. Prof P – Hello Year 4! I’m glad you’re enjoying the project. Don’t worry too much about things getting knocked over. Problems like that are part of life as a scientist.
Ysgol Bro Eirwg:
Rydyn ni wedi mwynhau dysgu a chofnodi yr wythnos hon! Prof P – Da iawn pawb!
The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School:
We are taking it in turns to collect the weather data. The weather has been very wet and windy at times. But it is cool to be a scientist, even if you miss a bit of football! H Prof P – Thank you for the weather data! You’re right, it is cool to be a scientist. I hope you didn’t miss too much football!
Coppull Parish Primary School:
My Year 4 children have recorded these by themselves. They could be the other way around. For example I have switched Thursday's temperature number with Thursday's Rainfall number. It didn't seem to be zero degrees celcius that day and the children wrote mm in the temperature boxes. Hmmmmm. mm also cropped up in the temperature on Wed. Marie Codd Science Leader and Forest School Leader. Prof P – Hi Marie. It’s great that the children are recording the data themselves. It is still very early in the project so there are bound to be some mistakes. I’m sure that by the end of the year you will all be experts. Well done everyone!