Matt's World Of Weather: The Cricket Thermometer

Last Chance
Click on the poll. This is the last week to vote on the final February Folkore for next week's World of Weather

I encourage you to click on the video to find out more regarding the Cricket Thermometer. The video will go over the how’s and why’s of the folklore. Below however, I’ll be discussing ways to put the ‘lore to an experimental test. This will be especially useful for anyone in search of a fascinating weather-themed science fair project for the end of the school year ;) Enjoy!

Weather Authority Lab Coats
Most of the weather folklores we have come across combine historical weather patters and some science. I say most, because the cricket thermometer is one of the few that actually holds up in a lab setting and can be tested. Last week we were grabbing for something to write with…this week we’re reaching for the Weather Authority lab coat and heading for the World of Weather laboratory!

A common problem with trying to test theories dealing with the atmosphere is that we are put up against an endless amount of variables (wind, sun, moisture, pressure, location, elevation…the list goes on). Our “Cricket Thermometer science Fair Project” is much simpler and allows us to isolate different variables to see how they impact the number of cricket chirps.

For example, what happens to the number of chirps if we gradually change the strength of the wind but leave the temperature, humidity and pressure constant? If the number of chirps per 15-second interval increases as the wind strength increases, we can then conclude the cricket is responding to the wind variable and nothing else.

Our next step would be to leave the wind variable the same, but change a different one, like the temperature. If the number of chirps stay the exact same as you increase the temperature in our World of Weather Cricket Box then we can conclude the cricket is not responding to the temperature variable.

This is just a hypothetical situation and does not reflect actual experimental testing. Marvin didn’t want a cricket in the weather center

Sure you will have to gather some materials, but for a science fair project, this is “testable” folklore that will come back with a pretty clear result!

A Little Entomology
If you spend a lot of time outdoors you may have noticed that insects become a little more active when the weather gets warm. In fact, we can go further than the cricket when discussing weather and insects.

For instance, carpenter ants and termites will use a warm day to begin the process of expanding their colonies. Conversely, cold temperatures will have an impact on the pollination processes. A cold snap during the spring has actually been correlated with sluggish bumblebees and butterflies. Less flower visits per insect in turn causes slower plant pollination. I guess even in the insect world it’s tough to get out of bed when it’s cold.

Of note:
Phillip Williams was nice enough to add that crickets stop chirping below ~50°. I have to thank him for pointing that out.

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