Page images
PDF
EPUB

THE SUN'S WEATHER FACTORY

HEADQUARTERS — UNITED STATES WEATHER BUREAU,

WASHINGTON, D.C.

The Sun is master of the ocean of air and the ocean of water.

These are the great factories in which he manufactures the weather.

When clouds are needed, hundreds of heat messengers speed from the sun through the airocean to the water-ocean to make vapor.

This floats up through the warm air-ocean until it reaches a cool current, which changes the vapor into clouds. Some of them are fleecy and white like great snow banks; some are spread out in great bands or streamers, making a background for the sunset sky; some, like feathery plumes, float high in the sky, while others darken and frown at the earth.

The dark ones are the rain clouds. A cool current in the air-ocean puts an end to their cloud life and sends them spattering and splashing in a gentle, refreshing shower, or pouring in a torrent that may cause a flood.

If the raindrops pass through very cold air on their way to the earth, they are changed from innocent raindrops to hailstones, which may beat down the farmer's grain or ruin his fruit. Rain is the farmer's friend, but he has little patience with the hail.

The snowstorm is made in the Sun's factory, too, from the same kind of vapor which makes the clouds. In the air-ocean there are not only some cool and cold currents, but some freezing ones as well. If one of these icy currents sweeps over some clouds, it chills them so, that instead of turning into raindrops they change to snowflakes, which start on a journey to the earth. Sometimes they are changed to sleet on their way down, by a warmer current.

Some of the raindrops, melted hailstones and snowflakes sink through the earth's surface and carry water to the root mouths of plants and trees, or to the thirsting springs. Others run over the ground, trickling away in little

[graphic][merged small]

streams to join the larger streams, creeks, brooks and rivers, which are trying to reach the ocean.

But the Sun is watching all the time. He sends down heat rays which dry the pavements, roads, fences, trees and bushes, by turning the water on them to vapor, which is carried up through the air-ocean to be turned into clouds again.

This is a story without beginning, middle or end. It keeps going around in a circle.

SOME WEATHER PROVERBS

“RAIN, rain, go to Spain,

Fair weather come again.”

“Rain, rain, go away,

Come again another day;
When I brew and when I bake,
I'll give you a little cake.”

« PreviousContinue »