ATSC 2000 Fall 2001

Final    (15%)


A. Multiple-choice questions (12%, 0.4% each)

There are 30 questions. One and only one answer is correct.


1. A station shown on a weather chart has a value of 089 in the upper right corner. What does this mean?

a.        the station temperature is 89ºF;

b.       the station pressure is 1089 mb;

c.        the station pressure is 1008.9 mb;

d.       its pressure, adjusted to sea level, is 1008.9 mb.


2. The wind near the surface generally is:

a: slower than the geostrophic wind;

b: as fast as the geostrophic wind, but deflected towards the lower pressure;

c: faster than the geostrophic wind;

d: as fast as geostrophic wind, but deflected towards the higher pressure.


3. In Central Florida in summer, thunderstorms are more likely inland (like at Orlando) than along the coast (like at Cape Canaveral). Why?

a. nocturnal land breezes spread in all offshore directions, causing divergence, and sinking of the air near the coast, thereby inhibiting thunderstorms;

b. sea breezes converge over the peninsula in the afternoon, forcing the air up, and triggering inland thunderstorms;

c. the ocean doesn’t appreciably cool off at night, while the land does;

d. all of the above.

4. Upper-level divergence occurs in association with a _____ on the surface weather chart.

a.        low;

b.       saddle;

c.        high;

  1. ridge.


 5. The highest air pressure ever measured in Laramie:

a.        must be over 1025 mb;

b.       is less than the lowest pressure ever measured in Chicago;

c.        is less than the lowest sea level pressure ever measured, i.e. in the eye of a typhoon;

d.       equals 1038 mb.


6. The atmosphere around the Earth would rush off into space if the vertical pressure gradient force were not balanced by:

     a.  the Coriolis force

     b.  the horizontal pressure gradient force

     c.  gravity

     d.  the centripetal force

     e.  friction


7. A wind instrument that usually consists of three or more cups is called a(n):

a.        wind vane

b.       aerovane

c.        wind profiler

d.       wind sock

e.        Doppler radar

f.         cup anemometer

g.       espresso machine


8. Which circulation is not thermally direct?

a.        a sea breeze

b.       a lake breeze

c.        a land breeze

d.       a monsoonal circulation

e.        a Hadley circulation

f.         a Ferrel cell


9. Which of the following is not usually observed as a sea breeze front passes?

     a.  a drop in temperature

     b.  a pressure increase

     c.  a wind shift

     d.  a decrease in relative humidity


10. During the summer along the coast, a sea breeze is usually strongest and best developed:

     a.  in the afternoon

     b.  just after sunrise

     c.  around midnight

     d.  just before noon

     e.  when Baywatch is aired


11. A katabatic wind is a ____, ____ wind.

     a.  cold, upslope

     b.  warm, upslope

     c.  cold, downslope

     d.  warm, downslope


12. The main reason why Santa Ana winds are warm, is because:

a.        latent heat is released in rising air

b.       sinking air is warmed dry adiabatically

c.        condensation occurs

d.       solar heating warms the air

e.        they are heated by forest fires in Southern California

f.         the water off California is relatively warm.


13. You are camping in a valley in the middle of nowhere, yet you wake up in the morning to the smell of bacon cooking over a fire. Where are the other campers most likely found?

a.        down the valley

b.       upstream in the valley

c.        in the next valley over

d.       on the mountain ridge between the two valleys

e.        on the edge of nowhere, far from the middle


14. The sea breeze blows:

a.        up the pressure gradient;

b.       down the pressure gradient;

c.        parallel to the isobars (ie like the geostrophic wind);

d.       from land to ocean.


15. A very cold airmass, such as the one that is found over Siberia in winter, has a _____ at the surface (at sea level) and a _____ aloft (at 300 mb).

a.        high, high

b.       high, low

c.        low, low

d.       low, high


16. The contour lines drawn on a 500 mb chart are lines of constant:

a.        pressure

b.       height above sea level

c.        density

d.       wind direction


17.  The winds in the mid-latitude upper troposphere would not blow from the west if:

     a.  the Earth's rotation slowed or increased slightly

     b.  the tilt of the Earth changed slightly

     c.  polar air became warmer than tropical air

     d.  the direction of the moon's orbit around the Earth were reversed


18. The top of the friction layer (aka ‘planetary boundary layer’) is usually found near what altitude?

a.        100 m    (330 ft)

b.       500 m  (1,640 ft)

c.        1000 m  (3,300 ft)

d.       5000 m (16,400 ft)


 19. The jet stream flows:

a.        directly from west to east

b.       directly from east to west

c.        from the equator towards the poles

d.       in a wavy pattern around the pole, counterclockwise in the northern hemisphere


20. The world's deserts are found at 30° latitude because:

a.        the ITCZ is located there

b.       of the sinking air near the polar front

c.        of the convergence of the prevailing westerlies and the trade winds

d.       of the sinking air of the subtropical highs


21. Trade winds generally have a(n) _____ component.

a.        northerly

b.       easterly

c.        southerly

d.       westerly


22. According to the general circulation model presented in class, the prevailing wind at Barrow, Alaska (latitude 70°N) is:

     a.  northeasterly

     b.  southeasterly

     c.  southwesterly

     d.  northwesterly

23. The intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) is a region where:

     a.  the polar front meets the subtropical high

     b.  northeast trades meet the southeast trades

     c.  northeast trades converge with the subtropical high

     d.  the Ferrel cell converges with the Hadley cell

     e.  cold fronts from opposite hemispheres meet


24. What kind of airmass occasionally moves south east of the Front Range, down to Texas where its wind is known as a Texas norther (or blue norther) ?

a.        mT

b.       mP

c.        cP

d.       cT

25. The dryline separates which two airmasses?

a.        mP and mT

b.       mT and cT

c.        cP and cT

d.       cT and mP


26. The air mass with the highest actual water vapor content is:

a.        mT

b.       cT

c.        mP

d.       cP


27. On a weather map, the transition zone between two air masses with contrasting temperature is marked by:

a.        the letter "H"

b.       a ridge

c.        a front

d.       the letter "L"

e.        a trof


28. Which of the following is not correct concerning a warm front?

a.        it is colored red or with half-circles on a weather map

b.       it has warm air ahead (in advance) of it

c.        it is usually associated with stratiform clouds, especially in winter

d.       it normally is less steep than a cold front


29.  A frontal inversion would probably be best observed:

     a.  with a warm front in summer

     b.  with a dryline in spring

     c.  with a cold front is summer

     d.  with a warm front in winter


30. In winter, which sequence of clouds would you most likely expect to observe as a warm front with precipitation approaches your location?

     a.  cirrus, nimbostratus, altostratus, cumulonimbus

     b.  cirrus, cirrostratus, altostratus, nimbostratus

     c.  cirrostratus, nimbostratus, altostratus, fog

     d.  cirrus, cirrostratus, altostratus, cumulonimbus

The following 5 questions can only give you extra credit


31. If the Earth’s gravity were to double overnight, it would be twice as hard to get up in the morning, and the ______ winds would blow stronger:

     a.  geostrophic

     b.  katabatic

     c.  jet stream

     d.  hurricane


32. The mercury barometer was invented by:

a.        Isaac Newton

b.       Gaspard de Coriolis

d.       Torricelli

e.        Aristotle

f.         Leonardo da Vinci

g.       Albert Einstein

h.       A soft-spoken Univ. of Wyoming professor, who is now retired

33. This inventor used mercury in his barometer because:

a.        He did not know it was poisonous;

b.       He liked the smell and shine of it;

c.        His wife, a chemistry professor, told him so;

d.       His tube would have to be a lot longer if he had used water;

e.        Mercury does not evaporate, unlike water;

f.         Mercury does not expand or contract with rising/falling temperature.


34. The greatest wind speed ever recorded at the Earth's surface occurred at:

     a.  Mt. Washington, New Hampshire

     b.  Miami, Florida

     c.  Windy Ridge, Iowa

     d.  Cheyenne, Wyoming

     e.  Long's Peak, Colorado


35. A cold front that moves into New England from the east or northeast is called:

a.        a cold occluded front

b.       an oceanic front

c.        a nor'easter

d.      a "back door" cold front

C. Mini-essays (3%, 1.5% each)


Choose one of the following 8 topics. Only two topic are required.  Extra credit: answer up to two additional topics. A maximum of four answers will be graded.

Answer on separate pieces of paper as needed. Maximum length per answer: one page.


1.        Discuss and explain wind patterns in Wyoming.

2.        Explain why closely-spaced contour lines on a weather chart are associated with strong winds; and why winds can be so strong in he upper troposphere.

3.        Discuss why, notwithstanding decades of software development and access to the most advanced computers, weather still cannot be predicted better.

4.        What is meant by the term monsoon ?  Briefly describe or sketch the wind and pressure pattern during the summer and winter monsoon in Asia.

5.        What changes might you expect to see in the Earth's general circulation if the Earth did not rotate around its own axis?

6.        What features in the Earth's general circulation help determine where wet conditions are most likely?

7.        Describe the typical changes in weather conditions (winds, temperature, clouds, precipitation, pressure changes) that occur as a cold front approaches and passes through your location.

8.        Sketch an occluded frontal system (including isobars, warm front, cold front, low, and winds) as it would appear on a surface weather map in the Southern Hemisphere.



1.      d

2.      a

3.      b

4.      a

5.      b or c

6.      c

7.      f

8.      f

9.      d

10.  a

11.  c

12.  b

13.  b

14.  b

15.  b

16.  b

17.  c

18.  c

19.  d

20.  d

21.  b

22.  a

23.  b

24.  c

25.  b

26.  a

27.  c

28.  b

29.  d

30.  b

31.  b

32.  d

33.  d

34.  a

35.  d