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STANDARDS

CCSS: 3.MD.B.3, 4.MD.A.2, MP1, MP2, MP7

TEKS: 3.8A, 3.8B, 4.9B, 5.9C

Record-Setting Weather

Meet a scientist who investigates extreme weather!

Brandon Goforth/Solent News & Photo Agency (Tornado); Shutterstock.com (All Other Images)

When a weather station in Death Valley, California, recorded a temperature of 130 degrees Fahrenheit last summer, weather scientists double-checked their thermometers. That’s only 

4 degrees less than the hottest temperature recorded on Earth!

Was the reading accurate or just a glitch? It’s Randy Cerveny’s job to find out. He leads a project to verify weather records for the World Meteorological Organization. 

A weather station recorded a temperature of 130 degrees Fahrenheit last summer! The station was located in Death Valley, California. Weather scientists double-checked their thermometers. That temperature is only 4 degrees less than the hottest temperature recorded on Earth!

Was the reading accurate? Or was it just a glitch? Randy Cerveny’s job is to find out. Cerveny works for the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). He is the leader of a project at WMO. The project’s goal is to verify weather records.

First, Cerveny asks local weather scientists to collect information about the event, such as pictures and records. Then experts study the data to determine if the record is valid. 

Investigations can take months to complete. For the Death Valley case, a team is verifying the equipment that measured the record.

To Cerveny, climate change makes his work even more important. “In order to understand how our world is changing,” he says, “we need to be able to monitor it precisely.”

Cerveny first contacts weather scientists who work near the place where the strange weather event occurred. He asks the scientists to collect information about the event. That information can include pictures and records. Then experts study the data. The experts decide if the record is valid.

Investigations can take months to finish. A team is verifying the equipment that measured the 130-degree temperature in Death Valley.

Climate change makes Cerveny’s work even more important. “In order to understand how our world is changing,” he says, “we need to be able to monitor it precisely.”

Brandon Goforth/Solent News & Photo Agency (Tornado); Shutterstock.com (All Other Images)

How many years ago did the costliest tornado hit Joplin, Missouri? 

How many years ago did the costliest tornado hit Joplin, Missouri? 

A. 96 years ago

A. 96 years ago

B. 22 years ago

B. 22 years ago

C. 10 years ago

C. 10 years ago

D. 5 years ago

D. 5 years ago

How wide was the largest recorded tornado?

How wide was the largest recorded tornado?

The winds of Category 5 hurricanes are at least 157 mph. How much faster than this wind speed were the winds of the strongest tornado?

The winds of Category 5 hurricanes are at least 157 mph. How much faster than this wind speed were the winds of the strongest tornado?

Write the greatest number of tornadoes that occurred in one month in expanded form.

Write the greatest number of tornadoes that occurred in one month in expanded form.

Jim McMahon/Mapman® (Map); Shutterstock.com (All Other Images)

Round the hottest recorded temperatures on each continent to the nearest 10. Which three round to 130°F?

Round the hottest recorded temperatures on each continent to the nearest 10. Which three round to 130°F?

Where was the hottest temperature in the world recorded?

Where was the hottest temperature in the world recorded?

A. North America  

A. North America  

B. South America 

B. South America 

C. Asia

C. Asia

D. Australia

D. Australia

Record the continents in order from highest to lowest record-high temperature.

Record the continents in order from highest to lowest record-high temperature.

What do you think?
Which type of weather would you most like to study?
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Teachers: poll your class, then type the total number of answers in the boxes and click “Cast Your Vote.”

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