How to Identify Changes in Natural Phenomena Over Time

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  • 0:00 Natural Phenomena
  • 1:00 Natural Sensation
  • 2:12 Artificial Sensation
  • 3:20 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

Have you ever seen a volcano erupt? Have you seen the Northern Lights? If not, don't worry. You've probably seen or heard other natural phenomena. Let's find out together how we can detect changes to phenomena over time.

Natural Phenomena

Have you ever been through an earthquake? A tsunami or hurricane? Have you ever seen the sunrise? Heard rumbling thunder? Run away from a tornado? All of these are examples of natural phenomena, non-artificial (meaning, not man-made) states or processes perceptible through the senses.

And therein lies a key part of what phenomena are in general. These are occurrences that we can perceive through the senses, be they the sense of sight or the sense of hearing. We can see the sunrise. We can hear the thunder. We can feel the ground shake. We can also identify changes in natural phenomena over time by using sensors, be they our own or artificial.

Natural Sensation

Let's take a little field trip to explore how it is that we can identify changes in natural phenomena plainly with our own senses, and nothing more.

Why don't we fly away to an exotic location? Let's choose Egypt. We know that the ancient Egyptians relied on the Nile River for transportation and food. The Nile helped water the crops that grew adjacent to it. The livelihood of ancient people depended on the way the river flooded, a natural phenomenon.

But what can we see now in Egypt? Many of these ancient ruins now stand in the middle of deserts. There's sand everywhere and no water in sight. What happened? Did these ancient people actually live in deserts? No, they lived next to the Nile River. The Nile River is still there, but we can easily see that it is no longer in the same place.

This is another natural phenomenon of the Nile. It shifts position over time. It literally migrates. What once used to be a thriving city on the edge of the Nile is now a desert because the Nile moved in a different direction over time.

Artificial Sensation

But we don't have to rely solely on our natural sense to identify changes in natural phenomena. No, we can use artificial sensors that can sense changes in everything from temperature to wind speed to acidity levels of a river to identify any changes that are happening.

Thermometers placed all over the world can help identify the effects of climate change over many years. An anemometer detects changes in wind speed. It could also tell us if hurricanes are becoming more aggressive over time. A barometer, an instrument that measures atmospheric pressure, can help us gauge if a storm is coming in the near future.

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