GE 172                                                                                                        Prof. John E. Ebel

Weather, Climate and the Environment                                       December, 2009



Final Exam


This exam is an in-class, closed-book, final exam covering all of the material from the course.  Please write all your answers in the blue books that are provided.  There are a total of 100 points possible on this exam.  Please keep in mind the university rules concerning academic integrity.  Good Luck!


Part I.  Definitions (2.5 points each)


     Please give a concise definition in your blue book for each term listed below.


1. Maunder minimum                                             6. Eye wall

2. Stationary front                                                    7. Stratosphere

3. Little ice age                                                          8. Numerical forecast

4. Earth axial precession                                       9. Climate

5. Refraction                                                               10. Cirrus clouds



Part II.  Multiple Choice (2.5 points each)


     Please write in your blue book the most correct answer for each question.


11.  Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have been rising primarily because of

                   a.  the burning of coal and other fossil fuels.

                   b.  the clearing of rain forests.

                   c.  the greenhouse effect.

                   d.  the widespread use of CFCs.


12.  In the Koeppen system, the types of climates that are unique because their distribution is not governed by geographic location but by topography are the

                   a.  ice cap climates.

                   b.  tundra climates.

                   c.  humid continental climates.

                   d.  highland climates.

                   e.  Mediterranean climates.


13.  The polar front is

                   a.  not associated with the polar jet stream.

                   b.  only found at the surface of the earth.

                   c.  a region marked by a sharp change in horizontal temperature.

                   d.  a boundary between two regions of equally cold air.


14.  Areas with a monsoonal climate typically

                   a.  do not have dense forests.

                   b.  have low species diversity.

                   c.  are never subject to hurricanes.

                   d.  have an annual period of very low rainfall.


15.  The most abundant greenhouse gas in the atmosphere is

                   a.  carbon dioxide.

                   b.  ozone.

                   c.  water vapor.

                   d.  argon.


16.  Hurricane paths or tracks

                   a.  never cross over themselves.

                   b.  are easily predictable.

                   c.  always move to the northwest.

                   d.  can be highly erratic and unpredictable.


17.  Thunderstorms are rare over _______ surfaces.

                   a.  vegetated

                   b.  snow-covered

                   c.  moist

                   d.  warm


18.  The movement of Atlantic tropical storms from the west coast of Africa toward Central and North America is initially is guided by

                   a.  the trade winds.

                   b.  the polar front.

                   c.  the jet stream.

                   d.  the geostrophic westerly winds.


19.  The large-scale climatic impact of violent volcanic eruptions depends on the volume of _____ injected into the stratosphere.

                   a.  CFCs.

                   b.  sulfur oxide gases and aerosols.

                   c.  methane.

                   d.  carbon dioxide.


20.  In general, the mean annual pH of precipitation is lowest

                   a.  in the Rocky Mountain states.

                   b.  in Texas.

                   c.  west of the Mississippi River.

                   d.  east of the Mississippi River.

                   e.  over the American southwest.



Part III.  Fill in the blanks (2.5 points each).


21  In midlatitudes, dry climates generally occur _____________________ of great mountain barriers.


22.  The time of day when photochemical smog is most severe is __________________ .


23.  The atmospheric layer where all weather takes place is called the ________________ .


24.  In addition to its winds, major damage in a strong hurricane can be caused by its ___________________ .


25.  During a glacial climatic episode, the level of the sea ________________________ .


26.  The ________________ is a term describing the fact that cities tend to be a few degrees warmer than the surrounding countryside at night.


27.  Water that is cooled below freezing but remains liquid is said to be ______________________ .


28.  Dilution of air pollution is inhibited when there is a temperature  ___________________  at some level in the atmosphere within a few thousand feet above the ground.


29.  Ridges and troughs form as part of ___________________ waves.


30.  The season when the monsoon rains come in places like India is  ___________________.



Part IV.  Diagrams (5 points each).


     Please draw and clearly label in your blue book each of the following sketches.


31.  Please three diagrams, each to explain one of the following Milankovitch cycles: the eccentricity of Earth's orbit, the precession of EarthÕs rotation axis, and the obliquity of EarthÕs rotation axis.


32.  Please use one or more drawings to explain how a tornado might form.



Part V.  Essays (5 points each).


     Please answer concisely in your blue book each of the following questions.  An answer of no more than 5-6 sentences should be sufficient to answer each question.


33.  Please explain how weather forecasters might use the results of computer model forecasts of the weather to decide how to forecast the weather for the next several days.  Under what conditions might the forecasters have good confidence in their predictions, and when might they have less confidence in their predictions?


34. What characterizes the weather (temperature and precipitation throughout the year) in an area with a severe mid-latitude climate?  Please give examples of cities on two different continents that experience severe mid-latitude climates


35.  Please explain why a city like Mexico City, situated in a mountain valley, is so susceptible to high levels of air pollution.  As part of your answer, be sure to state what the major sources of air pollution are.