Seventh International Conference on School and Popular Meteorological and Oceanographic Education


The online weather projects of the Royal Meteorological Society

Malcolm Walker, Royal Meteorological Society, Reading, United Kingdom

The Royal Meteorological Society's principal online weather project MetLinkInternational began in 1998 and has run every year since. In the first year, there were twelve participants in six countries. In 2006, the project attracted more than 400 participants in upwards of fifty countries. The essence of the project is that participants make and exchange weather observations by means of an online database and, with the help and guidance of meteorological professionals, analyse and interpret the observations. The project is for primary and secondary schools (age range 7-19) and for individuals of any age. It supports Geography, Science, Mathematics, Art, Field Work and/or Information Technology. A feature of MetLink is that weather reviews are provided daily on weekdays (Monday to Friday, inclusive) during active phases of the project. The reviews are based upon weather charts, satellite images, weather web-cams and other real-time information, and reference is made in them to weather observations made by MetLink participants. An innovation in 2006 was the publication of sets of MetLink-based educational material each day during the two weeks of January-February when the project was officially active.

The Royal Meteorological Society ran another online weather project in October 2005, this one for children aged 8-12 and individuals of any age. Called RainCatch, it was restricted to participants in the United Kingdom and Ireland and involved making a rain gauge from a plastic bottle and measuring and recording rainfall with this gauge for one week. The individuals who took part were all weather hobbyists, the idea of their involvement being that they would measure rainfall not only with a home-made gauge but also with commercially available equipment, thus providing some idea of gauge accuracy. In schools, the project supported Design, Geography, Communication (oral English and Information Technology), Mathematics, Science and even economics and politics. The project will run again in November 2006.

Other online projects that will be mentioned will be Light and Colour in the Open Air, which took place in March 2000, and The Great UK Weather Watch, which took place in March 2004.

This oral presentation will do no more than outline the projects. Details of the aims, objectives, benefits, requirements, resources, results, achievements and shortcomings of MetLink and RainCatch will be provided in supporting poster presentations. In addition, information about these and the other two projects will be available in hand-out leaflets.

Session 9, International education programs and collaborations.
Thursday, 6 July 2006, 10:30 AM-1:45 PM, Centre Greene Building 1, Auditorium

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