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Science

Environmental change

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Measuring environmental changes

Living organisms can be used to indicate environmental changes, such as pollution, but scientists can also use equipment to measure environmental changes. For example, oxygen levels in water can be measured using oxygen probes. These are often connected to a data logger.

Rainfall

Rainfall is measured using a rain gauge. The depth of rain is usually measured daily, for example at the same time every morning.

A simple rain gauge consists of a funnel that empties into bottle. The daily contents of the bottle are poured into a measuring cylinder. This is calibrated so that it reads the depth of rainfall in millimetres.

Temperature

An ordinary thermometer can be used to measure the temperature in an environment. Traditional maximum and minimum thermometers have a U-shaped tube. Each side contains a pin which moves inside with the liquid: one pin records the maximum temperature; and the other pin records the minimum temperature. After readings have been taken, the pins are reset using a magnet.

A digital thermometer connected to a data logger allows an almost continuous measurement of temperature over time. It also has the advantage that no one needs to be there to take a reading.

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