Surf at Your Beach!
by Robin Marks
So, you can take a break
from work next week and surf? Which day will offer you the best
waves? Using information online, you can estimate when the sweetest
swells will roll your way.
In the United States,
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) maintains
hundreds of satellites that orbit the earth, sending back pictures
and data about weather conditions. In addition, NOAA and agencies
from other countries keep buoys along the coasts and in the open
ocean to monitor waves and wind.
These resources can help
you make predictions about surf anywhere on the globe. The town
of Santa Cruz, just south of the Exploratorium, is famous for its
surfing culture. Using that location as an example, we'll take you
step-by-step through a surf-prediction process, gathering current
weather data from Web sites. At the end of each step, you'll find
a Web address where you can access the same information for your
Remember, though, that
any forecasting is just thatforecasting. Nature doesn't always
follow the course we predict. So on the day you're set to head out,
you might want to check the latest data to make sure the waves are
still on track.
To make your prediction,
you'll need a connection to the Web, some paper, a pen, and a calculator.
A printer might come in handy too.