Weather experiments: How to create a cloud in a jar and make it rain!

Weather Workshop with Meteorologist Cheryl Scott
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Meteorologist Cheryl Scott is showing you three weather experiments you can do at home!

Weather Experiment #1: Hot air rises

- 20 FL Oz. Empty Bottle
- One Balloon
- Two Containers (Bowls/Pots)
- Ice Cubes

1. Boil Water until it reaches a temperature of 160 to 170 degrees.
2.Pour the hot water into one bowl. Fill the other bowl with Cold water and ice cubes.
3. Place the deflated balloon on top of your bottle.
4. Place the bottle (standing straight up) into the bowl of hot water. (Watch what happens to the balloon)
5. Now, place the bottle into the bowl with cold water.

Notice as you place the bottle into the hot water, the balloon fills up with air! That's because warm air rises! One fundamental principle in meteorology is convection and rising, warm air plays a major role in weather systems.

A Parcel of air that is warmer than its surroundings will rise. Air expands and lifts as it warms. Warm air is less dense than cold air.

When the bottle is heated, the air molecules inside start moving faster and collide. The air molecules continue to spread out. Because Warm air is less dense, the warm air rises and continues to fill the balloon with air and causes it to rise.

Weather Experiment #2: Clouds in a Jar

- Mason Jar ( Jar with Lid)
- Hairspray
- Ice Cubes

1. Fill the jar halfway with hot water
2. Place the lid upside down on the top of the jar
3. Add ice cubes to the top of the lid
4. After 1 minute, lift the lid quickly and spray some hairspray into the jar. Place the lid back on top
5. After another minute, lift the lid and watch as Clouds Form!

This experiment explains the process of how clouds form in our atmosphere. The Sun heats the air at the surface. The air at the surface and water vapor will continue to warm and start rising. As the air mass lifts, it will continue to cool as temperatures in the upper levels of the atmosphere are much colder.

The airmass will reach a level where the water vapor will condense out. This is because the colder airmass can no longer hold the vapor. The vapor will condense out to form water droplets.

However, the water droplets must condense out onto something. Particles in the atmosphere (dust, pollen, smoke) act as condensation nuclei. The vapor condenses onto these particles to form water droplets = Condensation!

And that's how clouds form! In this experiment, the hairspray acted as condensation nuclei which allowed the vapor to condense out to form our in home cloud!

Weather Experiment #3: Make it Rain

- Mason Jar
- Shaving Cream
- Food Coloring

1. Fill the jar you used in the cloud experiment with warm water to the top.
2. Add Shaving cream to the top of the jar to create your cloud
3. Add a few drops of food coloring to the top of the shaving cream

Watch how the rain starts to pour down into the jar!

Clouds are made up of tens of millions of water droplets. Eventually these droplets become too heavy to remain suspended and fall to the ground as precipitation. That's how we get rain, snow, sleet, and hail!
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