|METEOROLOGY PRACTICE TEST
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
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.
11. A one degree temperature change on the Fahrenheit scale is equal a _______________ degree change on the
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.
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
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.
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?
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.
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:
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
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
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
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:
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.
73. The maximum unambiguous range will increase if the pulse repetition frequency
of the radar ____________.
74. The maximum unambiguous velocity will increase if the pulse repetition frequency of the radar ____________.
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 _________________.
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
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
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
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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