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Weather Wisdom

1024px-Groundhog-Standing2Groundhog Day always gets me to thinking about the different ways we use animals and the natural world to predict weather patterns.   I’ve listed several below with ideas on how to use them in a science fair project.

How many of these have you heard before?  Are there any missing from the list?  Leave a comment!

  • Red sky at night; sailors delight.  Red sky in morning ; sailors take warning.
    Observe the color of the sunset and sunrise.  When the sky is red, take note of the weather – is it stormy or fair?
  • If March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb.  
    Look at historical data comparing the weather during first week of March to the last.
  • When ants travel in a straight line expect rain; when they are scattered, expect fair weather.
    Make observations of ants in the morning and compare their paths to the weather later in the day.  This is best done in the summer.
  • The darker the woolly caterpillar’s coat, the more severe the winter will be. If there is a dark stripe at the head and one at the end, the winter will be severe at the beginning, become mild, and then get worse just before spring.
    Observe as many woolly caterpillars as you can and compare their markings to the following winter’s weather.  This project may need to be done over several years – or collaborate with students in other parts of the state/country/world.
  • If the cat washes her face over her ear, the weather is sure to be fine and clear.
    Another chance to use your cat in a science fair project!  Observe your cat washing his/her face and see if it correlates to the weather.

The following all predict the coming of rain or snow.  Which one is most reliable?

  • When leaves show their undersides, be very sure that rain betides.
  • Dandelion blossoms close before there will be a rain.
  • A ring around the sun or moon means rain or snow coming soon.
  • Catchy drawer and sticky door, coming rain will pour and pour.
  • Birds on a telephone wire predict the coming of rain.