Gary the Hermit Crab By Michael Hogan and Maddie Weber
At an observatory at the tallest point in the underwater city of atlantis, an astronomer is busy as he studies the stars. His name is Gary, and he is a hermit crab. "Oh boy, I can't wait to watch the skies today!" Gary said eagerly as he put his eye up to the telescope. However instead of seeing a clear sky full of stars, he saw that it was partially covered by thin, wispy clouds called "Cirrus" clouds. "Oh well." He said, "I'll just look around them!"
Soon, more clouds began to cover the sky; but they were unlike the Cirrus clouds, and were made of dark, heavy clouds that covered great portions of Gary's view. "Nimbus clouds!" Gary exclaimed, "How will I see the stars now?" Within minutes, the sky was completely covered by Stratus clouds; gray, hazy masses that blocked out even the brightest of stars. "What will I do now?" Gary thought, "I need to ask Larry the snail, he'll know what to do!"
So Gary went to go ask his friend what was causing the clouds to gather. "It's called a stationary front." Larry said. "It happens when cold and warm air masses meet, but neither mass has enough force to push the other one. It could bring on days of these clouds and rain!" "Oh no! Then I must go where there aren't any clouds, so I can look at the stars again!" Gary said. "It's dangerous to go alone! Take this." Larry replied as he handed Gary two items.
"What are they?" Gary asked. "You now have a Barometer; a device used to measure the barometric pressure, and a satellite view of the surrounding lands; so you may find a area with calm weather." So Gary went off on his adventure to find the perfect place to look at stars. "Hmm, it looks like there is an area of low pressure where the clouds are occurring, so maybe an area of high pressure won't have any clouds!" Gary thought as he looked at the map, "Infact, it looks like there is one just west of here!" Gary travelled with the ocean currents, ocean water that moved to other areas unequally heated by the
Gary travelled west to a land called florida, however the further he traveled the skies got darker, and the clouds began to swirl! "What's going on with the sky?" Gary asked a stranger he passed by. "A hurricane is forming! it's when The warm, moist air over the ocean rises upward causing an area of low pressure. When a cold front meets the area of low pressure, the warm air is pushed higher in the atmosphere where it cools. The warm water heats up the cold front causing it to rise and take the warm air's place in a process called convection. This process repeats, making the hurricane." He said.
"What causes the fronts in the first place?" asked Gary. "Well," the stranger started, "The unequal heating of the Earth's surface by the sun causes winds on a global scale, cold air masses move to warm areas, and vice versa; this is called a Wind Current, and it is the driving for between high pressure fronts." Gary, still confused asked, "then how do the fronts cause storms?" The stranger answered, "in an area of low pressure, more water vapor can be held in the air than in a high pressure area with the same temperature, this is known as the Dew Point. When a cold front meets a low pressure system, the air temperature drops and the pressure rises, causing all of the water vapor to condense, falling back to earth as precipitation in the form of rain, sleet, or snow. The storm clouds they produce can be dangerous though, as they can form tornados, funnels of high pressure that spin at astounding speeds!" Gary felt confident in his new knowledge, and thanked the stranger for helping him before continuing on his journey.
Gary could now see the observatory in the distance, and the skies had cleared! Even though it was almost 30 degrees colder than where he left, Gary could barely contain his excitement as he opened the door. As he entered, an astronomer called out to him, "My name is Jerry, and my brother has told me all about your adventures." "You mean Larry!" Gary replied. "Yes, and welcome to the Everglades Observatory, at the tallest point on the eastern seaboard! Also, I have a reward for you on completing this journey!" Jerry said as he handed him something. "What is it!" Gary replied.
"They are an Isotherm and an Isobar!" Jerry continued, "Like lines connect the points on my shell, Isotherms connect points of with the same temperature on a map; Isobars work similarly, except they use the air pressure. With these tools you will be able to see the temperature and air pressure of any area, helping you predict when clouds will come to an area, and where there aren't any!" Gary was in awe of the information contained in the maps, and constantly updated them incase clouds would strike his new home.