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Earth Science-Ch17, 18, 19, and 20 Study Questions:

These are practice questions for your test. They do not represent the exact test questions. In addition to attempting
these questions, consult the study guide for chapters 17-20 in the text book, old quizzes, and handouts from class.

Ch 17:
1. What is the most abundant gas in the Earth's atmosphere? Nitrogen
2. What is ozone and why is important? It protects us from UV rays (located in the stratosphere)
3. What is the lowest layer of the atmosphere? Troposphere
4. What are the 3 mechanisms to transfer energy? Conduction, Convection, and Radiation
5. What two energy transfer mechanisms are most important for weather? Radiation and Convection
6. The heating of the lower layer of the atmosphere from radiation absorbed by certain heat-
absorbing gases is called... Greenhouse Effect
7. Radiation does not require a ...medium (it can travel through space/vacuum)
8. Energy from the sun initially arrives from the sun in what form? Radiation
9. List factors that can control temperatures on the Earth. Latitude/Geographic Location, Altitude,
Land/Water relationship
10. What heats up more rapidly, land or water? How does this relate to weather? Land, it creates
11. What are isotherms (Be able to read a map with isotherms)? Areas of equal temperature
12. Describe the vertical structure of the atmosphere in terms of temperature and pressure. Be able to
read the graphs describing the layers of the atmosphere
Ch 18:
1. What gas is most important for understanding atmospheric processes? Water Vapor
2. Water is most influential in atmospheric processes due to its ability to change_____. State
3. Construct a phase change diagram for water and label the following; evaporation,
condensation, sublimation, deposition, melting, freezing. Also label when energy is absorbed
or released.

4. What is latent heat and why is it important to atmospheric processes? Energy gained or lost
during a state change
5. Define saturation. When something cannot hold any more water
6. What is the difference between humidity and relative humidity? Humidity=amount of water
in the air. Relative humidity=ratio of how much water is in the air to how much the water the
air can hold
7. What is the term that refers to the temperature to which air would have to be cooled to reach
saturation? Dew point
8. What is a psychomotor and how does it work? Measures relative humidity. It uses a wet bulb
and a dry bulb to measure the temperature. The difference in temperature is used to calculate
relative humidity. (we did this lab outside)
9. What are the two ways to change the relative humidity of an air mass? Water content and
10. When air expands or contracts, what type of temperature change does it experience? Air
expands=cools air compresses=warms
11. List and describe the 4 processes that may cause air to rise.
Orographic lifting (mountains lift air)
Convergence (air meets and pushes up)
Frontal wedging (cold and warm air masses meet and forces it up)
12. What are condensation nuclei? Why are they important for cloud formation? Bits of dust and
dirt that act as surfaces for water to condense on. This creates clouds. (water must have a
surface in order to condense)
13. How are clouds named? Height and shape
14. What cloud prefix means middle? High? Middle=alto Cirro=high
Ch 19:
1. In what directions(s) is air pressure exerted? From high pressure areas to low pressure areas
(creates wind)
2. What are isobars? Lines connecting areas of equal pressure
3. Surface winds move from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure.
4. Compare and contrast cyclones and anticyclones. Will not be on your test
5. In what type of pressure center would subsidence occur? Will not be on your test
6. Explain why most deserts are located at + and 30 latitude. Will not be on your test
7. Explain why most rain forests are located at or near the equator. Will not be on your test
8. Explain a diagram for the global wind patterns. Include the following; equatorial low, subtropical
high(s), polar high, trade winds, and westerlies. Global winds redistribute heat across the globe.
Otherwise the poles would be much colder and the equator would be much warmer. (Be able to
read a diagram describing the winds. This was our flipbook activity)
9. Construct a chart comparing and contrasting land and sea breezes.

10. Compare and contrast El Nino and La Nina.

El Nino = warmer than normal ocean temps
La Nino = cooler than normal ocean temps
These are not storms. They are weather patterns that create trends in weather.
Ch 20:
1. What are the air masses weve learned about? How do they affect weather?
Continental polar = cold and dry
Continental tropical= warm and dry
Maritime polar= cold and wet
Maritime tropical= warm and wet
2. What are fronts? How do they affect weather?
Warm: generally clear weather
Cold: creates storms
Stationary: fronts are parallel to each other
Occluded: unpredictable weather
3. What are middle-latitude cyclones? Large low pressure centers that create stormy weather
4. How does a thunderstorm form? Unstable air rises (commonly associated with cold fronts)
5. How does a tornado form? What scale do we use to measure it? Forms from winds getting
caught in updrafts. (test will not ask how tornados form) Enhanced fujita scale
6. Describe the development of a hurricane. How do we measure a hurricanes intensity?
Low pressure storm fueled by warm waters. Theyre measured with the saffir-
simpson scale.