GE 172                                                                                                            Prof. John E. Ebel

                                                                                                                        Dr. Ken Galli

Weather, Climate and the Environment                                                           October, 2009


First Midterm Exam


This exam is an in-class, closed-book exam covering all the material from the lectures and the first 6 chapters of the textbook.  Please write all of 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 (4 points each)


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


1. Isobar

2. Albedo

3. Aerosols

4. Wavelength

5. Sublimation


Part II.  Multiple Choice (4 points each)


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


6.  Hydrostatic equilibrium occurs when

                   a.  the force of gravity and the vertical pressure gradient both act to push air upward.

                   b.  the force of gravity and the vertical pressure gradient both act to push air downward.

                   c.  the force of gravity and the vertical pressure gradient have equal value and oppose each other.

                   d.  air masses are moving either up or down.


7.  A greenhouse

                   a.  is impermeable to shortwave radiation.

                   b.  blocks the transfer of longwave radiation.

                   c.  allows the loss of sensible heat.

                   d.  allows the loss of latent heat.


8.  The maximum concentrations of ozone on a global basis are found in the

                   a.  troposphere.

                   b.  thermosphere.

                   c.  mesosphere.

                   d.  stratosphere.


9.  The visible light spectrum is bounded by these two types of electromagnetic radiation:

                   a.  x-ray and thermal infrared.

                   b.  x-ray and radio wave.

                   c.  microwave and gamma ray.

                   d.  ultraviolet and near infrared.



10.  Radiation fog

                   a.  occurs most often on cloudless nights.

                   b.  forms midday due to the sunŐs radiation.

                   c.  only occurs over water bodies.

                   d.  can form when the air temperature is well above the dewpoint.

Part III.  Fill in the blanks (4 points each).


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


11  In the southern hemisphere, the Coriolis force deflects moving objects toward the _____________________ .


12. _______________ is the name of the mode of heat transfer between the Earth's surface and the atmosphere where the heat is carried by water vapor.


13.  For most of the Earth, the most abundant greenhouse gas in the Earth's atmosphere is  ____________________ .


14.  In the northern hemisphere, the length of the day is ___________________ the length of the night at the time of the solar equinox.


15.  The part of the total atmospheric pressure due to water vapor is called _______________ .


Part IV.  Diagrams (8 points each).


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


16.  Please use one or more drawings to explain how H20 evaporation and condensation take place at the molecular level.  As part of your answer, please illustrate the concepts of undersaturation, saturation, and supersaturation.


17.  Please make a drawing of the average temperature profile with elevation of the atmosphere, labeling the troposphere, tropopause, stratosphere, stratopause, mesosphere, mesopause, and thermosphere.  Make sure your answer correctly illustrates where in the atmosphere the highest temperatures are found.


Part V.  Essays (8 points each).


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


18.  Conduction and convection are alike in that both transfer heat within a substance.  What is the difference between them?  Which is more important for heat transfer in the Earth's atmosphere?


19.  Please give a simple explanation of geostrophic winds.  Be sure to explain what forces act on air that is moving as the geostrophic wind.


20.  The relative humidity changes throughout the day and night, especially when the weather is clear.  Please explain why this happens.