Water Vapor Protocol

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The purpose of this activity is to measure the total precipitable water vapor (column water vapor) in the atmosphere above an observer's site. Students point a GLOBE/GIFTS water vapor instrument at the sun and record the voltage readings from a digital voltmeter. They observe sky conditions near the Sun and perform the Cloud Protocols. Intended outcomes are that students understand the concept that the atmosphere prevents some of the sun's light from reaching Earth's surface, how water vapor measurements relate to the hydrologic cycle, and how greenhouse gases, such as water vapor, play an important role in weather and climate. Supporting background materials for both student and teacher are included.

Subject: Geoscience:Atmospheric Science
Resource Type: Activities:Field Activity
Special Interest: Field-Based Teaching and Learning
Grade Level: High School (9-12), Middle (6-8)
Theme: Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Atmospheric Science, Teach the Earth:Enhancing your Teaching:Teaching in the Field
Climate Literacy Principles: The Nature of Science:Observational Data, Complex Interactions:Water Cycle, Greenhouse Gases, Sun Drives Earth System:Greenhouse Effect, UV, Infrared
Topics: Human Dimensions/Resources, Atmosphere