The gases surrounding our planet allow us to breathe, shield us from ultraviolet rays, and keep us warm. The atmosphere is the theater where dramatic weather events such as hurricanes and tornadoes take place. It's also where much of our pollution ends up. Human activities like burning fossil fuels and cutting down trees have increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to levels not seen in thousands of years. Planet Diary keeps a watchful eye on events that make pollution and global warming worse, and applauds efforts to make them better.
Planet Diary Activities
- Acid Rain
Describes the sources and effects of acid rain.
- How Clean Is Your Air?
Looks at the Air Quality Index and what it says about the cleanliness of the air we're breathing.
- Global Climate Change
An exploration of the relationship between fossil fuels and the greenhouse effect.
- The Ozone Layer
How stratospheric ozone protects us from ultraviolet radiation and a look at the thinning of the ozone layer.
- Exploring Hurricanes
Takes a close look at hurricane structure and formation.
- Tracking Hurricane Katrina
Tracks the growth and evolution of Hurricane Katrina from a disorganized tropical depression to a dangerous Category 5 storm.
- Hurricane Predictions
Explores the data scientists look at to make predictions about hurricane frequency and intensity.
- Today's Weather
A detailed look at weather data of today's conditions across the United States.
- Thunder and Lightning
Explores the science behind thunder and lightning, including a global look at lightning strike frequency.
- The Scoop on Tornadoes
Investigates how tornadoes form and looks at common myths.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
A great source for the latest information about Earth's atmosphere.
Global Climate Change
This student-friendly guide has tons of info on global warming, including its impacts and solutions.
National Climatic Data Center
Get the latest climate data and images from the NCDC.
Find daily satellite pictures of fires, dust storms, and other atmospheric events.
What are today's atmospheric conditions? This a great place to get the latest weather updates.
How do scientists gather climate data? Find out from The Why Files.
Get the facts on the ozone layer and UV radiation.
EPA Acid Rain
The Environmental Protection Agency has solid information on acid rain's effects and causes.
Weather Satellite Images
What does the atmosphere look like from space today? Check out these Weather Underground satellite images.
Graphing Stratospheric Ozone
Use actual satellite images to graph changes in stratospheric ozone.
National Hurricane Center
Find the latest updates on current tropical systems.
Weather Underground has tons of info on tropical weather and hurricanes.
This fantastic site from the University of Illinois features animated explanations of hurricane formation, movement, naming, and strength.
Track approaching storms and check out frequently updated weather maps.
Get background information on hurricane safety from the National Hurricane Center.
NOAA Severe Weather Warnings
See the latest National Weather Service warnings for severe thunderstorms, winter storms, and floods, as well as tornadoes and hurricanes.
This comprehensive weather site from the University of Illinois offers up to the minute weather and storm information.
How many times was Park Ranger Roy Sullivan struck by lightning? Get fascinating lightning facts at the online Exploratorium.
Nature's Most Violent Storms
NOAA offers complete info on how tornadoes form, where they occur, their various shapes, and lots more.
Tornadoes strike again. How do they work?
Find facts on twisters from The Why Files. The site includes a glossary of tornado terms and a tornado quiz.
Provides tons of useful information on tornadoes.