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It is highly recommended that you have a printed version of this handout in front of you with your best
answers already selected as you take your timed exam. It will help you immensely and is a great study
tool. Once you have opened the exam, the timer starts and you will have only 70 minutes to submit your

Although this exam is an open notes exam, it is highly recommended that you use only a small index card
to place notes on. This exam is timed and you will not have the luxury of time to look up all your answers
after the exam has started. If you run out of time, you will not be able to go back and re-take the exam.

An answer key will not be posted for this sample exam, nor will I give answers to these questions via
email. You are expected to work on these questions on your own. However, if you need any clarification
on any of the questions, or you would like to ask me about concepts that dont involve giving away an
exact answer, please feel free to email me anytime with any of those questions.

1. What important word is missing from this definition of Meteorology: The study of the atmosphere.
a. troposphere
c. schematic
e. practical
b. ionic
d. scientific
2. Albedo explains
a. the reflectivity of a surface
b. the amount of heat a surface retains

c. how translucent a surface is

d. the absorbability of a surface

3. During the earths orbit around the sun this past year, the inclination (tilt) of the earths axis
a. varied from 0 to 23.5 degrees
c. remained constant at 23.5 degrees
b. varied from 0 to 47 degrees
d. remained constant at 90 degrees
4. Water vapor is a greenhouse gas.
a. true

b. false

5. Which form of heat transfer is least effective in the atmosphere?

a. radiation
c. conduction
b. convection
6. Low sun angles result in reduced solar energy because:
a. day lengths are shorter
b. sun-earth distance is greater

c. absorption is increased
d. energy is spread over a larger area

7. The primary cause of the earths seasons is

a. changes in atmospheric thickness
b. varying orbital speed

c. inclination of earths rotational axis

d. varying distance from the sun

8. Most of our weather occurs in the _____________________.

a. thermosphere
c. stratosphere
b. troposphere
d. mesosphere

e. exosphere

9. The troposphere is defined by its change in _______________.

a. water content
c. temperature
b. density
d. size

e. oxygen content

10. Temperature __________ in the troposphere with increasing elevation.

a. decreases
b. increases
11. A white roof on a building has a higher albedo than a brown roof.
a. True
b. False

c. stays the same

12. Energy at the microscopic scale is referred to as:

a. internal energy
b. kinetic energy
13. The surface with the highest albedo is
a. thin clouds
b. grass

c. potential energy
d. latent heat

c. sand
d. fresh snow

e. a black car

14. For maximum winter warmth, in the Northern Hemisphere, large windows in a house should face
a. north
c. east
b. south
d. west
15. What makes the aurora visible in the sky?
a. glowing atoms
b. reflection of sunlight

c. visible magnetism
d. moon light

16. Within which atmospheric layer do we have the aurora?

a. mesosphere
b. stratosphere

c. thermosphere
d. troposphere

17. Ozone is concentrated as a layer within the _______________?

a. thermosphere
c. troposphere
b. mesosphere
d. stratosphere
18. In percent by volume, _______________ is the second most plentiful gas in the atmosphere.
a. oxygen
c. nitrogen
b. carbon dioxide
d. methane
19. Molecules at a greater temperature will have:
a. a greater amount of kinetic energy
b. lesser amounts of kinetic energy
c. no change in the amount of kinetic energy.
20. The equator gets sunlight at 90-degree angles to its surface:
a. for about half the year.
b. all year
c. two moments per year on the

d. two moments per year on the


21. What does global dimming refer to?

a. a reduction in solar energy reaching the earths surface due to pollution.
b. a reduction in global warming.
c. an increase in greenhouse gasses within our atmosphere.
d. a decrease in greenhouse gasses within our atmosphere.
22. The Bay Area never receives direct (90-degree) sunlight at anytime of the year.
a. true
b. false
23. Incoming solar radiation in the middle latitudes is less in winter than in summer because:
a. the suns rays slant more and spread their energy over a larger area.
b. there is a decrease in carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.
c. the cold dense air lowers the intensity of the suns rays.
d. the earth is furthest from the sun.
24. When chlorofluorocarbons are subjected to ultraviolet radiation, ozone-destroying __________ is
a. nitrogen
c. carbon dioxide
b. chlorine
d. carbon

25. Water vapor:

a. is invisible
b. colors the sky blue

c. is what makes clouds visible

d. is very small drops of liquid water

26. The force that is caused by the earths rotation on its axis is called:
a. pressure gradient force
c. friction
b. coriolis force
d. wind
27. If the atmosphere has 5 g/kg ratio of water vapor to remaining dry air, and it needs 10 g/kg of water
vapor to remaining dry air to reach saturation, what is its relative humidity.
a. 10%
c. 40%
b. 50%
d. 100%
28. Condensation nuclei may be formed from:
a. particles of dust
b. ash from volcanoes

c. salt crystals from the ocean

d. all of the above

29. The most common way for air to be cooled so that a cloud may form is by:
a. emitting radiation
c. sinking and contracting
b. rising and expanding
d. reflecting radiation
30. How does air adiabatically cool in the atmosphere:
a. emitting radiation
b. rising and expanding

c. sinking and contracting

d. reflecting radiation

31. During the Bergeron (Ice-crystal) process of precipitation:

a. only ice crystals need to be present in the cloud.
b. ice crystals grow larger at the expense of the surrounding super-cooled liquid cloud droplets.
c. the cloud must be a cumulonimbus cloud.
d. the temperature in the cloud must be -100 degrees celsius or below.
32. Which of the following is not considered precipitation?
a. hail
b. snow

c. glaze
d. water vapor

33. Which of the following would not be associated with stable atmospheric conditions?
a. widespread fog
c. buildup of pollutants
b. temperature inversion
d. afternoon thunderstorms
34. The warm-cloud process of precipitation is called
a. condensation-coalescence
b. collision-coalescence

c. bergeron (ice-crystal) process

d. three-phase process

35. Hail is produced in which type of cloud

a. cumulonimbus
b. nimbostratus

c. altocumulus
d. cirrus

36. Rain in the Bay Area almost always is due to:

a. collision-coalescence process
b. ice crystal/bergeron process

c. the glaze process

d. the sleet process

37. The prefix alto in a cloud name represents

a. rain
b. a dry cloud

c. a middle cloud layer

d. coriolis force

38. Which type of cloud will most likely form in an unstable atmosphere?
a. stratus
c. cumulonimbus
b. cirrostratus
d. nimbostratus

39. A raindrop which freezes before reaching the ground is called:

a. snow
c. sleet
b. graupel
d. glaze
40. This term describes the maximum amount of water that can exist in the atmosphere as a vapor.
a. capacity
c. saturation
b. load
d. dew point temperature
41. Which cloud type has the form of a layer?
a. stratus
b. cirrus

c. cumulus

42. Rain in the Bay Area almost always begins as a snow flake first, but melts before it reaches
the ground.
a. true
b. false
43. Tightly packed isobars produce _______________ pressure gradient forces and
____________ winds.
a. strong, light
c. weak, high
b. strong, high
d. weak, light
44. During the summer, San Francisco will typically see this type of fog on the coast:
a. radiation fog
c. upslope fog
b. advection fog
d. steam fog
45. As the air temperature increases, the airs capacity for water vapor:
a. increases
c. remains constant
b. decreases
d. is unrelated to air temperature
46. The force that causes the wind to blow is called:
a. pressure gradient force
b. friction

c. coriolis force
d. centrifugal force

47. Which statement below is not correct concerning the coriolis force?
a. it causes the winds to deflect to the right in the Northern hemisphere
b. it is strongest at the equator
c. it can cause winds to change direction, but not to increase or decrease in speed
d. it deflects winds in opposite directions in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres
48. Which of the following combinations produces the strongest coriolis force?
a. fast winds and low latitude
b. fast winds and high latitude
c. slow winds and low latitude
d. slow winds and high latitude
49. The coriolis force will only change the winds direction and not its speed.
a. true
b. false
50. What happens to cause the pressure gradient force and the wind direction to closely approximate each
a. friction slowing the wind down
d. both a and b
b. an increase in the coriolis force
e. both a and c
c. a decrease in the coriolis force