“Do you know how are clouds formed?, “Does it always rain during the new moon?” and “How do you measure the temperature?” were some of the questions that students posed to experts on meteorology at a workshop organised by the Regional Meteorological Centre on Tuesday.

The Centre played host to an enthusiastic bunch of class nine students from two Chennai schools, which are run by the Chennai Corporation, and provided a glimpse into the fascinating world of meteorology

Meteorologists turned teachers as they explained in easy, understandable terms complicated concepts pertaining to weather and various parameters used in monitoring and forecasting. They said it does not always rain during new moon and that it was a common misconception. There are four thermometers to measure parameters such as maximum temperature and temperature depression due to humidity. The data is collected manually and monitored, they said.

Organised jointly by the Centre and Federation of Science Clubs of Tamil Nadu, the workshop introduced the students to interesting concepts such as seasons and monsoons and equipment used for modern observing systems.

K.Divya a student of Chennai School in Kannammapettai, T.Nagar said: “I watch weather bulletins on television only to know whether the school will remain closed on rainy days. I realised the meticulous work of an entire department behind the weather bulletin. I learnt about various types of forecasting, weather models and how it is useful for people.”

For M.Dhanalakshmi and D.Lakshmi from Chennai School in West Mambalam, the programme gave a detailed account of the concepts that they learnt in school. “I did not even know the difference between climate and weather. [Weather is used to describe conditions of the atmosphere over a short period of time and climate is how the atmosphere behaves over a long period]. I am carrying back so much knowledge about meteorology,” said D.Lakshmi.

Faculty members too listened intently when meteorologists explained that the department certifies about the damages suffered during natural calamities. The certificate is imperative for people to claim their insurance for the property loss.

The workshop was organised to create awareness among the students of science and its relevance in daily life.

An education officer of the civic body said: “We conduct such science programmes every month for class eight to eleven students. From next year, the programmes will be organised between June and December to provide exposure to more students.”

FCST president J.Daniel Chellappa said such programmes would help students appreciate science better and also understand how science applies to various people.

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