weather and climate final exam


The condition of Earth's atmosphere at a particular time and place.


Overall weather in an area over a long period of time


key points of weather forecasting

difference between weather and climate

weather is short term and climate is long term

instrument for atmospheric pressure


pressure increases with decreasing altitude

relationship between atmospheric pressure and altitude


is the pressure of the atmosphere at a specific place always the same?

Evangelista Torricelli

invented the barometer

high pressure

the pressure that comes with good weather

low pressure

the pressure that comes with bad weather



Fahrenheit, Celsius and Kelvin

temperature scales used by scientists and the general public

environmental lapse rate

the rate of temperature decrease with increasing height in the troposphere

air temperature with altitude in the troposphere

temperature decreases with rising altitude

warm air rises cold air sinks

relationship between density of air and its tendency to rise or sink

as pressure increases, with temperature constant, density increases. Conversely when temperature increases, with pressure constant, density decreases

how does temperature influence the density of air


Energy that is radiated or transmitted in the form of rays or waves or particles.


The direct transfer of heat from one substance to another substance that it is touching.


The transfer of heat by the movement of a fluid

it mixes the air

what can be said about the air in which a buzzard is circling over flat landscape?

rises because dust devils form in an upward motion from the ground to the sky. and form when hot air at the surface begins to rise rapidly with cooler air above it and higher up into the atmosphere and causes a spinning motion much like a tornado

does air rise or fall within a dust devil? why?


elemental gas that compromises the second biggest percentage of the Earth


percent of oxygen the earths air consists of


keeps the earth from escaping into space

solid, liquid, gas and plasma

phases of matter

phase change

a change from one state a change in chemical composition

thermosphere, mesosphere, stratosphere, troposphere

layers of the atmosphere


layer of the atmosphere that the weather phenomenon takes place

gamma, xray, UV, visible, infrared, radio waves

Forms of electromagnetic radiation from shortest to longest

visible radiation

electromagnetic waves in the only part of the electromagnetic spectrum we can see

infrared radiation

electromagnetic radiation with wavelengths longer than visible light but shorter than radio waves

ultraviolet radiation

a type of energy that comes to Earth from the Sun, can damage skin and cause cancer, and is mostly absorbed by the ozone layer

Radio radiation

longest wavelength

gamma radiation

a type of nuclear radiation made of high-energy waves

relative humidity

The amount of water vapor in the air at any given time is usually less than that required to saturate the air. Expressed as a percentage.


instrument used to measure relative humidity

100% relative humidity

condition of relative humidity needed for precipitation


clothes hanging on a clothes line will dry quicker when the humidity is _______

land breeze

the flow of air from land to a body of water

sea breeze

The flow of cooler air from over an ocean or lake toward land


______ breeze is more likely to happen during the summer

cumulus clouds

Fluffy, white clouds, usually with flat bottoms, that look like rounded piles of cotton.

cirrocumulus clouds

Clouds appearing in thin white patches. Arranged in small tufts, grains or ripples. Can be merged or separate. Sometimes called mackerel sky because of wavelike, scale appearance . Often return to a cirrus or cirrostratus form.

stratus clouds

look like flat blankets and are usually the lowest clouds in the sky

altostratus clouds

Uniform grayish or bluish sheet having very little texture. Thicker, grayer and lower than cirrostratus. They do not produce halos and light shows through even though it looks like it is shining through frosted glass. Can change into nimbostratus

nimbus clouds

rain bearing clouds that are dark and ragged at the edges.


time of day when the sun reaches its highest point


when the sun has the most heat radiating on the ground and where the air temperature is read at its highest reading


windows of a building (facing N, E, S, W) that will let the most sun in at mid-day during the winter months in the northern hemisphere


side of a tree that moss grows on


side of a mountain has rainy climate


side of a mountain where the rain shadow is

valley breeze

The movement of air created by warm air rising and flowing up the slope of a mountain.

mountain breeze

The movement of air caused by cool air sinking and moving down the slope of a mountain.

chinook winds

Foehn winds in the interior west of North America. A.K.A snow eater. Can raise temperature within minutes

katabatic winds

Winds that move down a slope

santa anna wind

winds blow from the coast ranges to the beaches as areas of strong high pressure

cold front

A front where cold air moves in under a warm air mass.

warm front

a front where warm air moves over cold air and brings drizzly rain and then are followed by warm and clear weather

stationary front

A boundary between air masses that don't move possibly causing rain for several days

occluded front

a front where a warm air mass is caught between two colder air masses and brings cool temperatures and large amounts of rain and snow

blue triangles

cold front symbol

red half circles

warm front symbol

both red

stationary front symbol

purple semi-circles and blue triangles

occluded front symbol

colder weather

weather condition that likely to exist in the zone just behind an advancing cold front


inter tropical convergent zone

near the equator

location of the inter tropical convergent zone

hadley cells

a thermal circulation proposed by George Hadley to explain the movement of the trade winds that consists of rising air near the equator


air that is near the equator


air that is near the poles

23.5 degrees N and 23.5 degrees S

latitudes that tropical rain forests can be found (due to the amount of rainfall and sunshine

30-50 degrees north and south

latitudes that deserts are can be found (due to the complex global air circulation patterns)

Koppen System

Divides world into 5 main climate regions


classifications of the koppen system

polaris the north star

star the North Pole of the earth faces

yes, because it is positioned close to the line of the earths axis projects into space

has the North Star always pointed towards the same star?

ecliptic plane

imaginary line where the earth orbits the sun

23.4 degrees

angle of tile of the earths axis relative to the ecpliptic plane


oval-shaped orbital rotation of the earth


A slow motion of Earth's axis that traces out a cone


The tilt of the Earth's axis

about 18,000 years ago

amount of years ago a time traveler would have to go to find North America covered with the maximum amount of sheet glacier


dug out holes that are now filled with water that are known as the Great Lakes and the finger lakes


time of the most recent low point in the temperature of the last major ice age

hockey stick graph

usesthe rings in trees to tell the temperature of the past by looking at the spacing of the rings

y axis year
x axis temperature change

information that is on the axes of a hockey stick graph

shows a large spike in the temperature in the last 1,000 years

significance of the hockey stick graph

Michael Mann

invented the hockey stick graph

y axis year
x axis CO2 concentration

information that is plotted on a kneeling graph

shows that the CO2 concentration has been increasing over time

significance of a kneeling graph

medical warming period

time back in 982 AD that was historically warmer than what proceeded in the next 50 years when the Vikings fell, led to the Little Ice Age

little ice age

A century-long period of cool climate that began in the 1590s. Its ill effects on agriculture in northern Europe were notable. led to less crops, more famine and plagues

during the medieval warming period

climate period the viking colony in Greenland that flourished

during the little ice age

climate period when the viking colony failed

temperature change and growth in agriculture in Europe, and growth of grapes in England

main factor that is blamed for the failure of the viking colony in Greenland


chemical formula for carbon dioxide


important compound that is essential for plants to grow, besides water and minerals

Anthropogenic Carbon Dioxide Theory of Global Warming

The increase of CO2 in the atmosphere increases the global temperature
Three key points: Hockey stick graph, keeling graph of CO2 conc. Vs time, and the greenhouse diagram.

global warming is caused by man

sole or primary cause of global warming

changes in solar radiation output
changes in solar particle output astronomical factors (Earth's orbit)
changes in cosmic ray intensity

four natural factors that have been proposed as explanations of climate change.

Michael Mann made the hockey stick graph by analyzing tree rings and correlation the rings spacing to the temperature

contribution of Micheal Mann to the content of this course

Al Gore was a large promoter of the ACT program as well as writing the "inconvenient truth

contribution of Al Gore to the content of this course


compound is the most abundant greenhouse gas in Earth's atmosphere


important component of Earth's atmosphere is found on Earth naturally in three stages of matter (i.e., solid, liquid, and vapor)

greenhouse effect

the theory that co2 produced increases the temperature on earth

carbon dioxide

component in Earth's atmosphere gives the greatest greenhouse effect


component in Earth's atmosphere gets the greatest attention in discussions of the greenhouse effect

carbon dioxide and water particles

combustion of paper produces

higher levels of CO2

combustion of gasoline or coal produces

kyoto protocol

meant to reduce the amount of CO2 levels in the atmosphere

kyoto protocol intention

to reduce the threat of climate change, by holding countries accountable to lowering their emissions by 5% from 1990.

United Nations

organization that sponsored the Kyoto protocol


primary source of oxygen in Earth's atmosphere

since its people started recording the climate

time when the Earth's climate begin to change

Milutin Milankovitch

believed that not everything could be caused by just natural causes and that there had to be something else that scientists could not determine yet, supported ACT

natural factors have been proposed as causes of climate change

changes in solar radiation output
changes in solar particle output astronomical factors (Earth's orbit)
changes in cosmic ray intensity and CO2 levels

ACT theory

the theory is most consistent with the actions proposed by the Kyoto Protocol
- ACT theory
- natural cause theories based on changes in solar output and astronomical factors