Cernan Earth and Space Center
Grade Level: 3rd grade and upLength: 42 minutes
Nature's Fury is a multimedia program which uses an automated slide system, stunning video footage of actual tornadoes and hurricanes and a variety of special effects projectors to tell the story of our planet's weather. After a brief introduction to weather in general, the show compares our planet's weather to the weather experienced on some of the other planets of the solar system that also have atmospheres.
The three major components of our weather -- 1) heat from the sun, 2) the global water cycle, and 3) our atmosphere -- combine to produce the various weather patterns we experience throughout the four seasons. Nature's Fury describes each season's unique weather characteristics. Summer is the season of extreme heat and drought; the apparent warming of the Earth, called the Greenhouse Effect, is described in this section. Autumn is hurricane season. You'll see how tropical weather forms, what hurricanes look like and the damage they can do. Winter is the season of cold temperatures, snow and ice storms. Throughout recorded history, there have been a number of major winter storms that have brought normal daily life to a standstill. The Great Blizzard of 1888 illustrates this unfortunate fact of life.
Spring is the season of thunderstorms and tornadoes. This portion of Nature's Fury describes how thunderstorms form (including thunder, lightning and hail), and simulates what it's like to be inside a severe thunderstorm. The program discusses how tornadoes are different from hurricanes and where they are most likely to strike. The highlight of this section is rare video footage of the life span of a real tornado that touched down near Minneapolis. A traffic helicopter in the area turned its camera on the tornado and recorded its dramatic activity.
Nature's Fury concludes by briefly discussing current weather and climate research, as well as how people have learned to cope with our ever-changing weather.
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