Synoptic meteorology is the study of large scale weather systems providing a broad view of the weather at a particular time and location. In this lesson, students determine the location of weather systems and draw trend lines on basic weather maps provided by the National Weather Service. They analyze surface air pressure, air temperature, dewpoint and pressure change. Then students are given a complete surface weather plot map and are asked to analyze weather conditions including wind direction, cloud cover, and the types of weather present in various areas of the US. They draw in the areas of high and low pressure as well as the edges of the air masses as cold and warm fronts.
Links to each of the maps are provided on the website. Links to what the completed maps should look like are provided so the teacher and students can check answers.
The authors state that the activity should take about 60 minutes, but in reality could take several days. Teachers should note that this is the last lesson in a weather unit in which students have already covered the concepts of air pressure, air masses, the relationship of wind speed and direction to pressure systems, and dew point.