The Met Office is urging people to blow bubbles and spot vapour trails as part of a national survey of Britain's climate.
The aim of the project is to help experts gain a better understanding of how human actions are affecting the climate.
However, rather than the gadgetry normally used for measuring the weather, this study hopes to gain a more intricate picture of conditions on a personal level.
The Open Air Laboratories (Opal) survey is therefore calling on ordinary people to make observations and send them in for analysis.
Here we explore the various ways people can get involved:
1. Investigating whether aircraft are making clouds
Aircraft vapour trails, also known as contrails, form when the temperature is cold enough (below about -40°C) but the air is humid – in a similar way to when you breathe out on a cold day and can see your breath. When fuel is burned in an aircraft’s engine, the water vapour formed mixes with the very cold air and condenses, forming a trail of ice crystals. These contrails can warm the climate because they stop heat radiation leaving our atmosphere, in a similar way to greenhouse gases. The Met Office wants to have a better idea of where contrails form across England, and your results will help it do this.
Participants in the survey are asked spend five minutes as often as possible studying the sky and noting the number and type of contrails they can see.
2. Monitoring which way the wind blows the clouds
The aim here is to find out which way the wind is blowing at cloud height. Anyone can work this out using a mirror and a compass. Mark the four points of the compass in pen on the mirror and lay it on the ground, having lined it up with the compass. Then, watch an easily recognisable part of a cloud in the mirror and track its progress by marking it at three or more points. You can then join them up with a straight line and note the wind direction.
3. Finding out how winds blow at ground level
Easily the most fun of the tasks, this requires blowing bubbles and following them to track the way the wind moves them through the air. Begin by marking a spot on the ground and blowing a string of bubbles. Pick on bubble and chase it until it bursts or is whipped away out of sight. Blow another bubble from where you end up and follow that one. Repeat the process about 10 times and then finally look back towards your start point. Using a compass, work out the direction back to the start point, which will tell you the average wind direction because wind direction refers to where the wind is blowing from. The measurements from this task and task 2 can be used to compare to official weather predictions, to discover local effects to wind direction.
4. Measuring how hot or cold you feel
After spending 15 minutes outdoors, participants are asked to note down how the weather feels, what you would prefer to feel and how well your clothing insulates you from the weather. Experts hope that by comparing recorded temperatures with the way people perceive the weather, they can get a more accurate picture of how people in different areas are more sensitive to climate.
:: Anyone in England can take part in the survey by downloading a pack here.