In this lesson,
students will plot the locations of fallout from two disasters
that polluted much of the world’s
air. First, they will plot the ash fallout from the 1980
Mt. St. Helen’s eruption to see what the wind patterns
in the United States look like overall. Next they will
plot the fallout from the explosion at Chernobyl in 1986
to see what wind patterns over Europe are like overall.
Purpose – Engagement
of students in tracking the movement of the Trades, Westerlies,
and Polar Winds by
studying pollution fallout.
will be able to:
1. Locate and plot an area’s fallout traveled to on a map
2. Describe the direction of the pollution flow
3. Explain how tracking pollution flow can explain wind patterns
D: Earth and Space Science
ENERGY IN THE EARTH SYSTEM
• Earth systems have internal and external sources of energy, both of which
create heat. The sun is the major external source of energy. Two primary sources
of internal energy are the decay of radioactive isotopes and the gravitational
energy from the earth’s original formation.
• Heating of earth’s surface and atmosphere by the sun drives convection
within the atmosphere and oceans, producing winds and ocean currents.
• Global climate is determined by energy transfer from the sun at and near
the earth’s surface. This energy transfer is influenced by dynamic processes
such as cloud cover and the earth’s rotation, and static conditions such
as the position of mountain ranges and oceans.
• Movement of matter between reservoirs is driven by the earth’s
internal and external sources of energy. These movements are often accompanied
by a change in the physical and chemical properties of the matter. Carbon, for
example, occurs in carbonate rocks such as limestone, in the atmosphere as carbon
dioxide gas, in water as dissolved carbon dioxide, and in all organisms as complex
molecules that control the chemistry of life.
of the world’s air pollutants are not visible to the
human eye. The pollution we often see in cities is called
smog. The particulate that makes up this air pollution can
come from a variety of sources: volcanoes, ash, pollen, dust,
automobile exhaust, chemical fumes, etc. Pollutants created
in one area of the world do not stay in that area. That pollution
is carried by global winds around the world. Larger heavier
particles do not travel as far as small, light particles,
which can travel thousands of miles before falling back to
More great information is available at USA Today Weather
Basics - (http://www.usatoday.com/weather/resources/basics/wworks0.htm)
and Resource Websites
Tracing Atmospheric Winds
Mt. St. Helens Ash Plume Path