Here is another idea for exposing your students to real data – have them create and/or analyze wind roses! Wind roses are visual representations of the distribution of wind speed and direction for a particular location based on meteorological observations. Wind roses are useful in evaluating the wind potential for a site, comparing wind potential at two or more sites and assessing how wind potential changes seasonally. To learn how to interpret a wind rose click here.
Wind rose plots from the National Weather and Climate Center are available for 237 cities across the United States based on wind measurements for each month of the year from 1961-1990. Wind rose plots for the following North Carolina cities are available: Asheville, Cape Hatteras, Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh and Wilmington. Your students could compare wind roses for coastal, Piedmont and western regions of the state.
Students can even plot their own wind rose using the Danish Wind Industry Association’s Wind Rose Plotter Programme. Wind data from local weather stations can be obtained from the State Climate Office of NC (NC CRONOS/ECONet Database).
Who has seen the wind? Harnessing Alternative Energy (2010) is a lesson written by a NC science teacher and available at Learn NC. In Activity 2 of this lesson, students assess wind potential of an area by evaluating local wind data and constructing a wind rose. Sample wind data and instructions for using the Wind Rose Plotter Programme are provided in the student worksheet (NOTE: the url for the wind rose plotter program is not accurate, use the link provided in this post instead).