Smith's Severe Weather Science: Convection Experiment

Making Convection: A necessary ingredient to thunderstorm development
  • clear plastic container
  • red and blue food coloring
  • water
  • ice

If you have time, add blue food color to the water in an ice tray and put in the freezer at least the night before you plan to do the experiment. You can also add food color later.

First, fill the plastic container about 3/4ths full of lukewarm water. Next, take the ice cube, and if you haven't already added blue food coloring do so to one side.Place the side with the food coloring in the water on one end of the container. on the other end add three drops of red food coloring. If you have the gel food coloring you will want to mix the red food coloring in about 1/4 of a cup of water and then pour it into the container

Now watch from the side and you can see the warm red water rise to the top and the cold blue water sink to the bottom. This is convection.

Convection can happen along a cold front when there is an area of cold air moving into an area of warm air. The warm air rises and thunderstorms can form if there is enough moisture in the atmosphere. You can learn more about cold fronts by watching this video.

Be sure to like Carly Smith WX Newschannel 6 on Facebook for more experiments like this one in the future.

The idea for this experiment came from Weather Wiz Kids.

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