136 Cloudy or Not, Here Comes the Meteorology!

Monday, 8 January 2018
Exhibit Hall 3 (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Teresa M. Bals-Elsholz, Valparaiso Univ., Valparaiso, IN; and K. H. Goebbert and A. J. Stepanek

Gas laws, saturation vapor pressure of water versus ice, the Bergeron process, condensation, a cloud. Some simple tools make it possible to demonstrate these complex ideas in the introduction to meteorology classroom and at outreach events. The most mobile demonstrations are for clouds in a bottle. A bicycle pump, a cork, and a 2-liter bottle are all that is needed for a big bang impact to demonstrate pressure, temperature and density changes (and to get a cloud). Slightly more involved, a cloud chamber with vacuum pump and a small whiff of smoke exhibits the role of cloud condensation nuclei in the cloud process. In a dark lab room, a small chest freezer, a flashlight and dry ice create an almost magical demonstration of the Bergeron process. Students create a supercooled cloud, add ice-like crystals from dry ice, and see the evaporation of the water cloud and deposition of the ice cloud.

All three demonstrations are appropriate for a college introductory meteorology class, though the principles remain intact through all levels. The clouds in a bottle are appropriate for K-12 when explained at the proper knowledge level.

We intend to demonstrate the clouds in a bottle during the session and will need a table. We will show a video of the Bergeron process in a chest freezer and will need a video screen (or we can run it on our laptop screen).

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