"Weather in a tank": Exploiting laboratory experiments in the teaching of meteorology, oceanography, and climate

L. Illari, J. Marshall, P. Bannon, J. Botella, R. Clark, T. Haine, A. Kumar, S. Lee, K. J. Mackin, G. A. Mckinley, M. Morgan, R. Najjar, T. Sikora, A. Tandon

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Six universities collaborated with National Science Foundation (NSF) to improve the teaching of atmosphere/ocean dynamics using rotating lab experiments and real-time data, in a project titled, 'Weather in a Tank'. The success of the project depended on the development of simple, transparent experiments targeting fundamentals that are easy to perform, suitable for demonstrations in lecture-based courses and able to capture the interest of students, circular materials designed for use with the experiments that make direct links to observed phenomena in the context of theory. Each project is organized into an experiment, resources and relevant theory. The experiment is viewed from a video camera corotating with the dial, whose signal is passed through a slip ring for display in the laboratory frame, either on a monitor or a projection device. Four 110 AC ground fault circuit interrupter power outlets are supplied on the monitor support to power the 12V system, video monitor, and other ancillary equipment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1619-1632
Number of pages14
JournalBulletin of the American Meteorological Society
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2009


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atmospheric Science

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