The Driest Place on Earth

Description:  Extreme climates (like the Atacama desert) can be used as phenomenon in a unit on weather and climate. The specific location of the desert (in a two-sided rain shadow near the Tropic of Capricorn) has created the arid environment. The average rainfall is 1/2 inch per year but many areas have received no rain for several years. Other phenomenon could include the "_____ Place on Earth" where the blank could represent a variety of weather conditions like Coldest, Hottest, Wettest, Windiest, etc.

Web Resources:  Atacama Desert - Wikipedia


Why Does the Wind Blow?

Description:  Even though we experience wind nearly every day most students don't know why the wind blows. Unequal heating of the Earth causes areas of low and high pressure. Wind is simply the movement of air from an area of high pressure to an area of low pressure. Students could keep track of the wind speed and wind direction over a long period of time. They could then try to determine the cause of wind in their local environment.

Web Resource:  NOAA - Why Does the Wind Blow?

wind blow.jpg

World Climographs

Description:  Climographs show the average temperature and precipitation in an area over the course of the year. Websites like can be used to quickly identify patterns of climate around the world. Students can also ask causation questions related to the climate differences (e.g. How do mountains and wind patterns affect the climate in an area?, How do large bodies of water affect the climate in an area?)

Web Resources:  Climate Charts, Climograph - Wikipedia


By NASA [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

UAE Building a Mountain to Increase Rainfall

Description: The UAE is exploring the idea of building a mountain to increase rainfall in the area. The government has already used cloud seeding in the area to increase rainfall and is currently exploring a mega-project to build a mountain. This could be used as an anchoring phenomenon in a unit on weather and climate. The design solution would mimic the role of mountains in affecting climates around the world.

Web Resource: Independent - UAE to Build ‘Fake” Mountain