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METEOROLOGY PRACTICE TEST

100 Questions

Passing: 80% or higher

Introduction to Meteorology Section (1-30)

1. The most abundant gas in the atmosphere by volume is _________. This gas comprises 78% of the Earth atmosphere by volume.
a. Oxygen     c. Carbon Dioxide
b. Argon     d. Nitrogen


2. The definition of a variable gas is a gas that varies significantly from time to time and place to place. The most significant variable gas by volume in the planetary boundary layer in the atmosphere is:
a. Ozone     c. Oxygen
b. Water vapor     d. Carbon dioxide


3. An isobar is a line of constant ________________.
a. Pressure     c. Temperature
b. Density     d. Dewpoint


4. Which of the following best explains how pressure decreases with height in the Earth's atmosphere?
a. It decreases at a constant rate (linear decrease)
b. It decrease quickly at first then more gradually (exponential decrease)
c. It decreases at a rate of 9.8 millibars per kilometer
d. It decreases in the troposphere, increases in the stratosphere, then decreases to the top of the atmosphere


5. In the vertical dimension, the upper level jet stream is located closest to which mandatory synoptic scale pressure level?
a. The 850 millibar level (1,500 meters)
b. The surface
c. The 500 millibar level (5,500 meters)
d. The 300 millibar level (9,500 meters)


6. The seasons of Spring, Summer, Winter, and Fall are a direct result of which phenomenon?
a. The sun's energy output and the Earth's proximity to the sun
b. Shifting of ocean currents
c. The 23.5 tilt of the Earth from vertical
d. The jet stream


7. ________________ refers to the horizontal transport of air while _______________ is the vertical transport of air.
a. Advection, convection
b. Convection, advection


8. Which of the following has the highest albedo and thus more reflected solar radiation?
a. Fresh snow     c. Water
b. Grass     d. Blacktop


9. Which of the following is NOT a primary "control" of climate?
a. Altitude     c. Daily weather
b. Latitude     d. Ocean currents


10. Water has a ___________ heat capacity. This means a large amount of energy is needed to raise the temperature of water relative to other substances.
a. Low
b. High


11. A one degree temperature change on the Fahrenheit scale is equal a _______________ degree change on the Celsius scale.
a. 0.56     c. 1.8
b. 0.90      d. 3.6


12. Unsaturated air rises at the dry adiabatic lapse rate which is ___________ C per kilometer. This is also the same numerical value as the gravitational force constant in meters per second squared.
a. 15.2      c. 6.5
b. 9.8      d. 5.5


13. Which of the following processes ABSORBS the most latent heat?
a. Melting     c. Evaporation
b. Freezing     d. Condensation


14. Which of the following processes will result in a GREATER dewpoint depression at the surface? The dewpoint depression is the difference between the temperature and the dewpoint.
a. Wet-bulb cooling
b. Saturating previously unsaturated air
c. Radiational cooling
d. Solar heating


15. One saturated air parcel with a temperature of 10 C has a saturation mixing ratio of 7 grams per kilogram; A second air parcel with a temperature of 20 C has a saturation mixing ratio of 14 grams per kilogram; From this information, what is the most likely saturation mixing ratio of a parcel of air at 30 C? Warmer air holds exponentially more water vapor, therefore the temperature/saturation mixing ratio relationship is not linear.
a. 17.5 grams per kilogram
b. 19.0 grams per kilogram
c. 21.0 grams per kilogram
d. 26.5 grams per kilogram


16. In which air mass type would a rising parcel's slope at the moist adiabatic lapse rate be closest to the dry adiabatic lapse rate? The moist adiabatic lapse rate is NOT a constant. The moist adiabatic lapse rate has a smaller slope than the dry adiabatic lapse rate if a parcel contains moisture. The amount of latent heat release depends on the temperature and moisture content of the air.
a. Maritime tropical (warm and moist)
b. Maritime polar (cool moist)
c. Continental tropical (hot and dry)
d. Continental polar (cold and dry)


17. Which of the following fronts GENERALLY has the smallest slope and is associated with light to moderate and widespread precipitation? This front is often found to the right of a mid-latitude cyclone in North America.
a. Cold front     c. Dryline
b. Warm front     d. Hurricane


18. Which of the following statements is FALSE:
a. Cloud droplets freeze once temperature drops below 0 C.
b. The vapor pressure is higher over water than over ice
c. The typical raindrop is about 2 millimeters in diameter
d. Salt particles make good condensation nuclei


19. The geostrophic wind is a balance of the pressure gradient force and the _______________ force. This balance causes air to flow nearly parallel to the height contours in the mid and upper levels of the atmosphere.
a. Friction     c. Coriolis
b. Centrifugal     d. Gravity


20. When viewed from above the North Pole of the Earth, the earth rotates _________________ and makes a complete turn in 24 hours. This causes low pressure to spin counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere. Clue: the sun rises in the east and sets in the west.
a. Clockwise
b. Counterclockwise


21. The California Current off the US West Coast is a ___________ ocean current while the Gulf Stream off the US East Coast is a ______________ ocean current. This helps lead to dry summers in California and relatively wet summers in the SE US.
a. Cold, Warm
b. Warm, Cold


22. Which of the following is NOT conducive to lake effect snow?
a. Continental polar air advecting over warm Great Lake waters
b. Strong vertical directional and speed shear with positive LI's
c. Orographic lifting and frictional convergence
d. Large temperature difference between lake and overriding cP air


23. Where is the warm sector located in reference to a developed mid-latitude cyclone over the United States?
a. To the north     c. To the west
b. To the southeast     d. To the northeast


24. Rising motion due to vorticity and warm air advection are most commonly found to the ____________ of the 500 millibar trough axis over the United States.
a. Left     b. Right     c. North


25. This is the type of fog that forms on nights with light wind, clear skies, low dewpoint depressions, and moist soils.
a. Warm air advection fog     c. Upslope fog
b. Thermal fog      d. Radiational fog


26. Which of the following reasons explains why the stratosphere is absolutely stable.
a. Air temperatures are too cold
b. Air pressure is too low
c. The absorption of radiant energy by ozone
d. The wind speed is too strong


27. Which of the following reasons explains why ice crystals develop much more rapidly than liquid water drops in the upper and middle levels of thunderstorms?
a. When temperatures drop below freezing, condensation of water vapor onto liquid water does not take place. The water vapor can, however, build on ice crystals due to deposition.
b. Electrical currents within thunderstorms allow the building of water vapor on ice crystals more rapidly than on liquid water drops.
c. It is because the vapor pressure of ice is less than that over water. This produces a vapor pressure gradient between liquid and frozen water. This causes water vapor to move from liquid water drops toward ice crystals.
d. It is due to the turbulent motion of air. Condensation rates onto liquid water slow with increasing windspeed.


28. These clouds have some vertical development and are located in the upper levels of the atmosphere. The clouds have a lumpy appearance and are made of ice crystals. When viewed from the surface, each cloud element is about the size of a thumbnail.
a. Nimbostratus      c. Altostratus
b. Fair weather cumulus      d. Cirrocumulus


29. How can virga cause the atmosphere to become increasingly unstable?
a. It can release large amounts of latent heat
b. It can cool the mid-levels of the atmosphere
c. It can cause a warming of the planetary boundary layer
d. It can cause surface to 500 millibar cold air advection


30. When the temperature is below freezing from the surface to 500 millibars, what precipitation type would you expect?
a. Snow      c. Sleet
b. Rain      d. Freezing rain


Severe Weather Section (31-40)

31. The two weather disasters that result in the greatest loss of life are:
a. Floods and Lightning      c. Floods and Hurricanes
b. Hurricanes and Tornadoes     d. Lightning and Droughts


32. Which of the following is true of a "capping inversion"?
a. It can prevent thunderstorms from developing
b. It can enhance thunderstorm activity due to heat and moisture buildup in the planetary boundary layer
c. It is a rapid temperature decrease with height above the planetary boundary layer
d. Both a and b
e. Both b and c


33. The air behind the forward flank downdraft associated with strong thunderstorms consists of _________________ air while the rear flank downdraft consists of relatively __________________ air.
a. hot and dry; cold and moist
b. cool and moist; warm and dry
c. hot and moist; cold and moist
d. cool and dry; warm and moist


34. Which of the following states has the most frequent and largest hail of the four choices below? Why?
a. Kansas; many high CAPE days, freezing levels can be relatively low
b. Florida; large number of thunderstorm days
c. Michigan; high latitude, lake effect hail, many summer storms
d. Oregon; orographic lifting, many thunderstorm days, jet stream


35. Minimum tropical storm force wind is ________________ miles per hour while the minimum hurricane force wind is _______________ miles per hour.
a. 50; 100     c. 39; 74
b. 25; 50     d. 44; 69


36. This is a synoptic scale boundary that separates maritime tropical (mT) air from continental tropical (cT) air. Dewpoint changes dramatically from one side of the boundary to the other. Severe thunderstorms can occur along this boundary, especially in Spring and early Summer.
a. Gust front      c. Chinook
b. Outflow boundary     d. Dryline


37. In which direction from a winter mid-latitude cyclone is heavy snow most likely to occur? The heaviest snow falls here due to the best combination of cold air and uplift. In this part of the cyclone, warm and moist air isentropically wraps up and over (wrap around precipitation) cold PBL air.
a. To the southeast
b. To the north
c. To the southwest
d. About a 100 miles south of the low track


38. In MOST cloud to ground lightning strikes, the ground tends to be _______________ charged.
a. Positively
b. Negatively


39. Thunder travels at the speed of sound which is nearest to:
a. 10 miles per hour
b. 5 miles per second
c. 1 mile every 5 seconds
d. 3 * 10^8 meter per second


40. The primary moisture source for severe thunderstorms in the Great Plains originates from the:
a. Jet stream
b. Mexican plateau and Rocky Mountains
c. Pacific Ocean
d. Gulf of Mexico


Climatology Section (41-50)

41. Many of the world's desert regions are located:
a. Just north and south of the equator
b. West coast regions along the Tropics of Capricorn and Cancer
c. At 60 North and 60 South
d. On the east coast of most continents


42. The sun is closest to the Earth in ______________, this is known as ______________ and has a ____________ effect on seasons. Assume you are in the Northern Hemisphere.
a. Summer; Aphelion; large
b. Summer; Perihelion; small
c. Summer; Perihelion; large
d. Winter; Perihelion; small
e. Winter; Aphelion; large


43. Which of the following is a diabatic process as compared to an adiabatic process?
a. Convection
b. Orographic lifting
c. Radiational heating or cooling
d. Rising air due to PBL convergence


44. If you stand with your back to the wind and rotate to the right 30 , the surface pressure will be _____________ to your left than your right.
a. Lower
b. Higher


45. In which location are hurricanes most likely to develop?
a. In warm tropical waters 10 to 25 North and South of equator
b. Along the equator over continental locations
c. Along the west coast of continents at 35 North or South
d. In either the Mediterranean Sea, off the east coast of South America, or just south of Australia


46. An "A" climate is characterized as having:
a. Tropical forest climates and hot all seasons
b. A dry climate
c. Warm temperate rainy climates with mild winters
d. Cold forest climates with severe winters
e. Polar climate


47. Climate is a function of:
a. Latitude
b. Altitude
c. Continentality
d. Ocean currents
e. All of the above


48. The mid-latitude winds in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres flow generally from which direction?
a. From the east in both hemispheres
b. From the west in both hemispheres
c. From the west in the Northern Hemisphere and from the east in the Southern Hemisphere
d. From the east in the Northern Hemisphere and from the west in the Southern Hemisphere


49. Which of the following is NOT a high latitude climate?
a. Polar     c. Tundra
b. Tropical wet and dry      d. Taiga


50. The word MONSOON as it applies to climatology refers to:
a. Very heavy rain
b. The intensification of the polar jet
c. A seasonal reversal in wind direction and pressure distribution
d. A cyclone or typhoon with winds over 100 miles per hour


Forecasting section (51-70)

51. The 850 to 700 mb layer thickness can increase by which of the following processes?
a. Strong 500 millibar vorticity advection
b. Evaporational cooling between the 850 and 700 mb layer
c. Strong dry air advection into the layer
d. Strong warm air advection into the layer


52. When comparing the moisture content in the air between two locations it is best to use?
a. The dewpoint      c. The wet bulb temperature
b. Relative humidity     d. The dry bulb temperature


53. Suppose a parcel of air at the surface has a temperature of 50 F with a dewpoint of 30 F. As it begins to rain heavily into the parcel, what is the wet-bulb temperature most likely to be after complete evaporational cooling?
a. 55 F      c. 37 F
b. 43 F      d. 32 F


54. When forecasting large hail, what are the primary thermodynamic ingredients to look for that produce large hail?
a. Vertical wind shear and surface temperature
b. PBL dewpoint and precipitable water
c. Surface pressure and 500 millibar Lifted Index
d. Elevation, CAPE and freezing level


55. When forecasting large and damaging tornadoes, what are the primary thermodynamic ingredients to look for?
a. PBL direction wind shear, mid-level moisture, speed shear, CAPE, weak to moderate cap and PBL moisture
b. Elevation, CAPE, cloud top height, and surface relative humidity
c. Upward vertical velocities, precipitable water, unidirectional shear, and PBL moisture
d. 500 millibar temperature, surface dewpoint, 700 millibar dewpoint depression, and lots of sunshine


56. When forecasting snow amounts associated with winter mid-latitude cyclones, the most complete list of the primary synoptic scale ingredients and forecasting tools for heavy snow are:
a. 500 millibar vorticity, speed and directional wind shear in the PBL, 700 millibar temperature, 700 millibar dewpoint depression, and direction low is moving
b. The size of the low, the deepness of the low, 700 millibar dewpoint, 1000 to 500 millibar thickness, soil temperatures, low level wind shear, and surface based CAPE
c. The track of the low, intensity of low, PBL temperatures including 850 millibar temperature, isentropic lifting, precipitable water, 1000 to 500 millibar thickness, 500 millibar vorticity, and the speed of low
d. Surface pressure, cloud tops, 500 millibar temperatures, jet streaks, surface temperature, elevation, 700 millibar wind speed, and the temperature gradient across the cold front


57. Which of the following defines the "low level jet"?
a. Gust front winds associated with severe thunderstorms
b. Strong PBL winds in the Great Plains which rapidly draws warm and moist air from the Gulf of Mexico
c. It is a polar or subtropical jet stream which is at an unusually low pressure level
d. It is the contrails produced by jet aircraft


58. Why are thunderstorms less common in California than Florida?
a. The directional shear is smaller throughout the year in California
b. Fronts do not move through California except in the Summer. Florida has fronts year round.
c. Florida has warmer ocean waters surrounding it. This results in higher dewpoints, instability and thus more thunderstorms.
d. The jet stream is stronger over Florida


59. Which of the following operational forecast panels is used to analyze vorticity advection?
a. 850 millibar forecast panel      c. 500 millibar forecast panel
b. 700 millibar forecast panel     d. 300 millibar forecast panel


60. What is vorticity?
a. It is the theoretical value of upward vertical velocity
b. It is the temperature gradient across a trough axis
c. It is the air pressure at 700 millibars
d. It is cyclonic or anticyclonic rotation which can be used to assess upper level divergence


61. Which type of pressure system is found in the southwest US in the summertime? Associated with this pressure system are hot afternoon temperatures, rising air in the PBL but very little precipitation and sinking air aloft.
a. Warm core low     c. Cold core low
b. Warm core high     d. Cold core high


62. You are in New York City for New Year's and the time has just changed to the year 2000. What time is it in Zulu (Z) time?
a. 5Z JAN 01 2000
b. 18Z DEC 31 1999
c. 12Z JAN 01 2000
d. 0Z JAN 01 2000


63. Of the following choices, which is displayed on 700 millibar forecast charts such as ETA and the NGM?
a. The jet stream
b. 1000 to 500 millibar thickness
c. Upward vertical velocity
d. Forecasted surface temperatures


64. Which of the following is NOT displayed on the ETA, MRF and NGM surface pressure chart?
a. Thickness     c. Sea level pressure
b. Relative humidity     d. Forecasted precipitation total


65. Why do surface afternoon summer temperatures tend to be warmer in southern Arizona than Mississippi when both states are at about the same latitude?
a. Radiational cooling is stronger in Mississippi; this allows morning temperatures to be cooler in Mississippi
b. Mississippi is at a higher altitude; Less dense air stays cooler
c. The wind tends to be stronger in Mississippi; stronger winds mix cooler high altitude air to the surface
d. There is more evapotranspiration in Mississippi; evapotranspiration is a cooling process that absorbs latent heat


66. Which of the following weather analysis tools can be used to determine at a quick glance whether thunderstorms are most likely to be supercells, multicells, or air mass thunderstorms?
a. The value of CAPE
b. The 500 and 300 millibar analysis charts
c. The hodograph
d. Meso-ETA forecast panels


67. When is the MOS temperature forecast most likely to bust?
a. On a sunny day with light wind
b. Near the center of synoptic scale high pressure
c. In a barotropic environment
d. When a front or mid-latitude cyclone enters the forecast region


68. When there is a balance between the upward pressure gradient force and the downward force of gravity, the atmosphere is said to be in ______________ balance.
a. Geostrophic     c. Baroclinic
b. Hydrostatic     d. Hypsometric


69. A type B mid-latitude cyclone has its genesis in the upper levels of the atmosphere and builds toward the surface. Which of the following synoptic scale features most heavily influences the development of type B cyclones?
a. A large horizontal surface temperature gradient
b. A convectively unstable atmosphere (warm and moist air under dry air)
c. Divergence created by meridional flow within the jet stream
d. Cold fronts, warm fronts and drylines


70. What causes winter mid-latitude cyclones to intensify rapidly into very deep cold cored lows as they move from the central or southern US into the northeastern US and coastal northeast? They are often termed Nor'easters.
a. The release of enormous amounts of latent heat from Atlantic moisture and an enormous east to west temperature gradient
b. They move further away from high pressure
c. It is caused by the Appalachian Mountains
d. It is caused by the low becoming vertically stacked and highly occluded


Satellite and Radar (71-90)

71. On a NEXRAD velocity display, air moving away from the radar site will most likely be given a color of:
a. Red
b. Blue


72. As an object emits sound or light and moves TOWARD you, the frequency of the sound or radiation will be _______________ relative to you than the moving object. This is the Doppler effect.
a. Higher
b. Lower


73. The maximum unambiguous range will increase if the pulse repetition frequency
of the radar ____________.
a. Increases b. Decreases


74. The maximum unambiguous velocity will increase if the pulse repetition frequency of the radar ____________.
a. Increases
b. Decreases


75. This term is defined as a measure of dispersion of velocities within the radar sample volume. It can be used to detect a tornado vortex signature since velocities will have various directions within a range gate.
a. Rankine vortex     c. Spectrum width
b. Velocity aliasing     d. Vorticity


76. The "bright band" on radar imagery forms due to:
a. Large hail in a supercell thunderstorm
b. Reflectivity from birds or aircraft
c. Cold air in the mid-levels of the atmosphere
d. Snow melting before it reaches the surface


77. Which of the following statements is FALSE?
a. The azimuth is the compass direction a hydrometeor is from the radar site
b. A doppler radar detects the actual wind speed in all directions from the radar
c. The range height indicator can be used to measure cloud top heights
d. The plan position indicator can to used to determine how far a hydrometeor is from the radar site.


78. When the downward bending of radar waves is stronger than normal, such as in association with a strong temperature inversion, it is called ducting or can also be called _________________.
a. Subrefraction
b. Superrefraction


79. Why does snow tend to have a smaller overall reflectivity as compared to rain?
a. The snow is more dense and smaller
b. The snow falls at a lower velocity and has a high albedo
c. The snow has a lower moisture content and ice generally has a lower reflectivity
d. Snow is colder and does not fall straight down


80. How can a radar operator best determine that a storm is "severe"?
a. By studying DbZ values, VILs, Radial velocities, and radar signatures such as bow echos
b. By studying accumulated precipitation maps, hourly surface observations and Speed/directional wind shear
c. By studying composite reflectivity maps, the closest 12Z thermodynamic sounding, and the ETA/NGM models
d. By studying infrared satellite imagery, the satellite/radar composite, and the MRF model


81. Cloud texture such as shadows and lumpiness are best seen on ____________ imagery.
a. Water vapor     c. Ultaviolet
b. Infrared     d. Visible


82. Define V-notch:
a. A fanning of clouds downstream from the burst point of convective thunderstorms
b. A region of low reflectivity created by an intense updraft
c. The coldest cloud tops associated with an MCC
d. The cloud intersection between a warm front and cold front


83. The dryslot on water vapor imagery, which usually wraps into a mid-latitude cyclone from the southwest, is created by which feature?
a. Warm air advection      c. The jet stream
b. The surface cold front     d. Isentropic lifting


84. Define parallax:
a. A thin line of convective clouds that forms along the leading edge of a weakening cold front
b. The apparent displacement of a cloud due to the viewing angle of the satellite sensor
c. The point where the sun's most direct rays strike the Earth
d. The maximum upward displacement of a wave


85. Coastal upwelling, the Gulf Stream and cloud top temperatures are best determined using:
a. Visible imagery     c. Water vapor imagery
b. Infrared imagery     d. X-ray imagery


86. Which weather phenomena would be nearly impossible to observe without the aid of satellite imagery?
a. Location of a mid-latitude cyclone
b. Location of a cold front boundary
c. Location of a MCC
d. Location of a deep ocean hurricane


87. How does "edge definition" differ between Stratus and Cumulus clouds? This applies to when these clouds are seen in person also.
a. Stratus have a low edge definition while cumulus have a well defined definition
b. Stratus have a high edge definition while cumulus have a low edge definition


88. The smallest element on a satellite image is called a(n):
a. Range gate      c. Square
b. Atom      d. Pixel


89. Which imagery uses enhancements to display important temperature details of thunderstorms and hurricanes?
a. Visible imagery      c. Water vapor imagery
b. Infrared imagery      d. Y2K imagery


90. A(n) ___________ surface such as rock does not allow light to penetrate while a __________ surface does allow some light to transmit.
a. Opaque, transluscent
b. Transluscent, Opaque


Miscellaneous meteorology (91-100)

91. Which of the following temperature scales is a RATIO temperature scale? A ratio is the most powerful mathematical tool in statistics.
a. Fahrenheit scale
b. Celsius Scale
c. Kelvin Scale


92. Suppose it is 70 F in Dallas and 40 F in Oklahoma City. The distance between these cities is 150 miles. By using linear interpolation, what is the likely temperature 50 miles north of Dallas.
a. 60 F     c. 45 F
b. 50 F     d. 55 F


93. Which of the following air masses is the most dense?
a. Cold and moist     c. Warm and moist
b. Cold and dry      d. Warm and dry


94. Thickness values can be used to infer the strength of:
a. A jet streak
b. Vorticity
c. Low level convergence
d. Thermal advection


95. If a jet streak is on the ____________ side of a trough, the trough will deepen and become more amplified.
a. Left
b. Right


96. The term "elevated convection" refers to:
a. Slanted convection such as in association with supercell thunderstorms
b. It is another term for an overshooting top
c. It is convection that has an origin above the planetary boundary layer
d. Orographically induced precipitation on windward mountain slopes


97. The numbers 956 next to a station plot at 700 millibars is what value in geopotential meters? Think of the average 700 millibar height in geopotential meters before looking at the choices.
a. 956 millibars     c. 3,956 geopotential meters
b. 2,956 geopotential meters     d. 9,560 geopotential meters


98. The dewpoint is greater than the temperature:
a. When the relative humidity is 100%
b. When clouds form
c. When it is raining
d. Never


99. A 100 mile per hour wind is how many knots?
a. 115 knots     c. 76 knots
b. 146 knots     d. 87 knots


100. A strong developing mid-latitude cyclone over the United States generally tilts to the _______________ with height. They tilt toward the cold air.
a. Northwest      c. Northeast
b. Southwest      d. Southeast


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