Life Cycle of a Thunderstorm

Breaking down one of nature’s most beautiful weather occurrences was a real treat for our illustration team. This illustration, created in the summer of 2015, was created for our sister company XplorePaks. We asked several middle school instructors what would be the most ideal way to help students understand the lifecycle of a typical thunderstorm and they helped us understand some of the misconceptions students may have:

  • They often have no idea just how large these clouds can become
  • Students struggle with understanding that the clouds are ever-evolving… they change shape, size, and move
    quite rapidly
  • Most students can’t conceive that cumulonimbus clouds continue to tower upwards; sometimes they can easily grow to heights far above where commercial airline traffic happens.
  • Students struggle to understand how warm and cool air currents move through the cloud helping to build and dissipate the thunderstorm after its’ fuel (warm air uplift) has been expended

One of the most important things about getting this illustration sequence right was limiting the amount of information on the screen. We were careful to downplay the focus on rain, lightning, and thunder in favor of a very simple background and a carefully selected palette. It was important to ensure the technical data could support the timeline of events in the periphery. All of this was carefully executed to ensure the cognitive load on a middle-school student was balanced; they need to be able to drink-in the experience slowly.

  • Client XplorePaks LLC.
  • Date August 2, 2015
  • Tags Illustration, Interactive
  • URL View Project

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