Measuring Wind Power
Snack: Everybody's favorite
springtime vegetable is peas. So when those early March winds howl - or even if
they don't - treat yourself with this fun recipe. Be sure to use your own wind
power -- blow on them -- before you eat them, if they're too hot:
2 C. snow peas or sugar snap peas, stems removed,
snapped into bite-sized pieces
1 T. ginger root, peeled and finely chopped
1 T. oil
2 C. canned, fresh or frozen peas
3 T. orange juice
Heat oil in large frying pan over medium-high heat.
Add chopped ginger. Cook, stirring, for one minute. You should be able to smell
Add the pieces of snap peas to the pan. Cook and stir
'til they are crisp-tender, about three minutes.
Now add the 2 C. of peas and orange juice. Cook and
stir until hot, about 2 minutes. Serve immediately with a crisp carrot curl on
top! (To make a carrot curl, peel one baby carrot sideways in a spiral with a
vegetable peeler - and after you garnish your peas with the one thin curl, eat
the rest of the baby carrot!)
Large wall calendar showing one month
Ruler | Sharpie pen
Is it windy out today? And HOW windy? You can define
just how strong the winds are outside using the Beaufort Scale.
The Beaufort (pronounced "BO-fert") Scale measures
the strength of the wind based on the effect of the wind on the environment, as
determined by simple observation.
It was invented in 1806 by an Irish admiral and
hydrologist (pronounced "hi DRAWL o jist"), or water expert, Francis Beaufort.
In those days, it was really important for ship navigation to know what the
wind was doing, since ships moved around the seas on wind power. But now it's
important to know for everything from power generation for utility companies,
to which corner of your backyard is the best place to put your new vegetable
That's because wind is a powerful force of nature,
and its power can be helpful or destructive.
The Beaufort scale sets up a scale of 0 to 12 to
measure the speed and effect of the wind.
Over the next month,
using a page from a wall calendar, record the Beaufort Scale score where you
are at the same time of day every day. Don't forget to check the wind's power
on weekends, too, so you can get a score for 30 days. Then add up the score for
all 30 days and divide by 30. That will give you the average Beaufort Scale
wind power for your location!
0 Calm Smoke
will rise straight up
1 Light air Smoke
2 Light breeze You
can feel the wind on your face
3 Gentle breeze Leaves and twigs move
4 Moderate wind Flags flap
5 Fresh wind Small
6 Strong wind Large
7 Near gale Whole
8 Fresh gale Twigs
break off trees
9 Strong gale Branches
break off trees
10 Storm Trees
11 Violent storm Widespread
12 Hurricane Disaster
ACTIVITY: WIND EROSION EXPERIMENT
Now let's examine another feature in wind power:
"erosion," or how the wind's power affects rocks and soil. This is a very
important concept for farmers, landscape designers and anybody else who wants
dirt to stay put!
1 C. potting soil
1 C. fine gravel
1 C. sand
Mix the soil, gravel and sand. Pile it outside on a
paved driveway or section of sidewalk.
Inflate the balloon and hold the neck so that the air
does not escape. Now point the neck of the balloon about six inches from the
soil mixture, down on the ground or a little above it, pointing straight at it.
Let the air out of the balloon. What happens?
The balloon air was like a strong gust of wind. Wind
can move large quantities of soil from one place to another.
The smaller and lighter-weight soil particles blow
away, and the gravel pretty much stays put.
The problem is, the topsoil - the lighter soil - is
what is fertile and important for growing crops.
Wind erosion caused the Dust Bowl - the inability to
grow good farm crops during the 1930s in the United States, a key cause for the
widespread poverty that occurred in that decade.
Because farmers didn't know enough about preventing
wind erosion, the good, lightweight, crumbly topsoil blew away, and people
couldn't grow food crops in the heavier, gravelly soils that remained.
Now we know better, and farmers use methods such as
no-till farming, in which they don't fluff up the soil very much from planting
year to planting year in order to keep it in place.
They also use "terracing" (TERR ah sing) in which they create flat planting terraces
on hillsides, to prevent a lot of the topsoil from blowing away.