air mass
A very large body of air in which weather conditions are more or less the same is called an air mass.

In meteorology, a cyclone is a large system of air circulation located between the equator and either the North or South pole. The central air pressure of a cyclone is lower than that of the surrounding environment. In contrast, an anticyclone has central air pressure that is higher than that of its surroundings.

Large, sometimes intensely violent tropical storm systems in the Atlantic and eastern Pacific oceans are called hurricanes. In the western Pacific, they are called typhoons.

The scientific study of weather is called meteorology.

Precipitation is moisture that falls from the sky, including rain, snow, and hail.

Also called twisters, tornadoes are storms characterized by rapidly rotating columns of air hanging from cumulonimbus clouds.

Weather includes all activities in the atmosphere, such as wind, rain, snow, and storms.

"Hottest Day of the Year" and "Storm of the Decade" are common headlines in newspapers around the world. Several places compete for the title of "rainiest spot on Earth," while other locations try to avoid the menace of sandstorms. Extreme weather often is destructive weather. Storms such as hurricanes and tornadoes can cause deaths and millions of dollars worth of property damage. Prolonged heat waves and cold spells result in increased illness and death, particularly among the very young and the elderly. Interactions among three elements — heat, air, and water — are primarily responsible for weather. For example, hurricanes often form as an air mass of low pressure that moves from east to west over tropical seas. Hailstorms form in clouds that contain a lot of water. Tornadoes form because great differences in air pressure cause air to start spinning in a tight, funnel-shaped formation. Weather scientists, called meteorologists, use radar and other instruments to locate, track, and determine the extent of storms and other types of extreme weather. They issue forecasts as well as watches and warnings of approaching storms, so that people can prepare themselves for bad weather.

Here are some topics to explore that relate to extreme types of weather. Looking at the articles, images, and other materials in this Research Starter may give you more ideas. Each topic has one or more articles to start you on your research, but remember that it takes more than one article to make a research paper. Continue your research with our list of articles below.

What happens when masses of air collide?

Hurricane season.
Hurricane and Typhoon
Weather Forecasting

Flying into the eye of a hurricane.
Hurricane and Typhoon

Thunderstorms and how they form.
Precipitation (Weather)

The birth and life of a tornado.

Beaufort Scale
Cyclone and Anticyclone
Hurricane and Typhoon
Major 20th-Century Hurricanes and Typhoons
Precipitation (Weather)
Extremes of Precipitation
Precipitation — Greatest Observed Rainfalls
Tornadoes: Fujita Scale For Damaging Winds
Weather Forecasting

Frank Potter's Science Gems — Mathematics
Index of sites related to mathematics education, identified by category, subcategory, and grade level by physicist and educator Frank Potter and his associates. A treasure trove for teachers, parents, and students.

Weather Underground
Weather Underground, started as a project at the University of Michigan and evolved into a weather service, provides access to thousands of forecasts, images, and the Internet's largest collection of weather links.

The Beaufort Scale
Basic information on the Beaufort Wind Force Scale; includes an explanation of conditions likely at each of the 18 possible points on the scale as well as links to related materials.

WW2010 (the weather world 2010 project)
A multimedia educational resource on atmospheric sciences from the Univ. of Illinois. Topics of the online instructional modules range from hurricanes and the hydrologic cycle to fronts and El Nino.

USA Today Weather Index
Index leads to informational pages on a variety of weather and climate related topics.

Meteorology A to Z
Site developed by a TV weather man includes links to useful information sources on a variety of weather topics along with links to useful teaching materials on weather.

The Weather Channel
The Weather Channel maintains this comprehensive Web site, offering weather forecasts worldwide; travel information; satellite images; and teachers' resources. Current reports and forecasts for any city of the world are retrievable via a search feature.

WINDandSEA Teachers' and Students' Corner
The WINDandSEA Teachers' and Students' Corner provides links to over 100 NOAA educational Web sites as well as links to many other earth, ocean, and atmospheric educational resources.

Live Access to Climate Data (NOAA)
Data visualization program allows users to select from various climate data sets and variables and create plots in real time via the Web.

PSC Meteorology Program Cloud Boutique
This site provides basic explanations and images of cloud formations.

Welcome to How Stuff Works
A selection of articles by author Marshall Brain on the workings of technologies people come into contact with daily, from car engines and home electronics to computers and food. With related links and with FAQ on a wide range of miscellaneous topics.