Weather and Climate Study Guide

Weather and Climate Study Guide
1. What problem does sulfur dioxide in the atmosphere cause?
It combines with moisture in the air to produce acid rain.
2. What process happens that causes ocean water to become water vapor in the atmosphere?
Evaporation (liquid water to gas)
3. What has happened to amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere between 1950 and today?
Why has this happened?
It has increased dramatically. This is due to the burning of fossil fuels.
4. What is the function of the ozone layer?
The ozone layer filters out the harmful UV rays (ultraviolet radiation) from the sun.
5. What caused the hole in the ozone layer? Why are scientists concerned about the hole in the
The hole in the ozone was caused by the use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s) in aerosol cans. The hole
in the ozone allows harmful UV rays from the Sun to reach the surface of the Earth. This can cause
skin cancer and damage to living organisms because these UV rays damage the DNA in living cells.
6. Where is most of the Earth’s water located?
Most of the water on Earth is located in the oceans, so most of the water on Earth is saltwater.
7. Where is most of the Earth’s fresh water located?
Most of Earth’s freshwater is frozen in the polar ice caps and glaciers.
8. What do we call the process by which water is recycled on Earth?
It is called the water cycle or the hydrologic cycle.
9. What happens when water condenses? Give an example.
When water condenses, it changes from a gas back to a liquid. Examples of this would be the
formation of clouds in the atmosphere or the formation of water droplets on the outside of a cold
glass. We sometimes refer to this as the glass “sweating”.
10. What is Earth’s hydrosphere? What are some components of it?
Earth’s hydrosphere includes all of the water on Earth, in gas, liquid, or solid form. Some components
of the Earth’s hydrosphere would be lakes, rivers, streams, oceans, ponds, rain, snow, sleet, glaciers,
polar ice caps, clouds, water vapor in the atmosphere.
11. What source of energy fuels the water cycle?
The Sun provides the energy to fuel the water cycle.
12. What is a meteorologist?
A meteorologist is a person who studies the weather.
13. What is the difference between weather and climate?
Weather is what’s happening outside right now, today. Climate includes all of the weather and
weather patterns in a certain area over a LONG PERIOD OF TIME.
14. If a scientist is studying temperatures, rainfall, storm patterns, and other meteorological data over
a long period of time, what is he/she studying? CLIMATE
15. What is a front? Draw the symbol for each.
A front occurs where two air masses (usually warm and cold) meet.
16. What kind of weather do fronts bring with them in general?
Rain, stormy, some type of precipitation
17. How will the weather of two cities compare if one is near an ocean and the other is surrounded
only by land?
The city near the ocean will have milder temperatures (warmer winters, cooler summers). The city
surrounded by land will have more severe temperature differences (hot summers and cold winters).
18. What causes wind?
Wind is caused by differences in air pressure.
19. What causes wind speeds to increase?
Greater differences in air pressure cause wind to be faster.
20. How do mountains affect climate? How do oceans affect climate?
Mountains may act as a barrier, blocking some clouds from reaching the other side of the mountain.
This causes one side of the mountain (the ocean side) to have more rain and lush vegetation, while the
other side (land side) gets little rain and experiences desert-like conditions. An example of this would
be the Sierra Nevada Mountains and would explain why Arizona is more desert-like.
21. What is the difference between renewable and nonrenewable resources?
Renewable resources do not run out and can be used again and again while nonrenewable resources
cannot be replaced or take a long time replace, so when they are gone, you can’t make more.
22. List five renewable resources. Give an advantage and disadvantage of each.
Renewable energy sources include: solar power, wind power, hydroelectric/tidal power, geothermal,
and biomass. While biomass does still produce pollution because it involves the BURNING of trees,
and organic waste materials, it is cheap and easy to get. The other four (wind, solar, hydroelectric,
and geothermal) are all non-polluting, which is a great advantage. However, they all cost quite a bit
upfront and are location-dependent since some areas are not ideal for building a dam (hydroelectric)
or barrage (tidal power), don’t have enough wind (wind power), have rock that is too hard to be
drilled through (geothermal), or do not have enough room for constructing solar panels (solar
Weather and Climate Study Guide
23. Fossil fuels are nonrenewable sources of energy. Give some examples of fossil fuels.
Examples of fossil fuels include coal, oil, natural gas, propane, and diesel fuel.
24. What is the problem with increased carbon dioxide in the atmosphere?
The increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are causing global warming/the greenhouse
effect. They are preventing heat from the sun from being reflected back into space (radiation cooling).
The carbon dioxide is trapping the heat from the Sun in the Earth’s atmosphere, causing global
temperatures to rise and polar ice caps to melt.
25. Draw a picture that illustrates the greenhouse effect.
26. What is pollution?
Pollution is anything that harms the environment.
27. What is the greenhouse effect?
The greenhouse effect involves carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the Earth’s atmosphere
trapping heat from the Sun, causing the Earth’s temperature to rise. This rise in Earth’s temperature
is referred to as global warming.
28. What kind of weather is associated with high pressure systems? Low pressure systems?
High-pressure systems are associated with clear skies and pretty weather. Low-pressure systems are
associated with stormy conditions.
29. Draw a diagram to illustrate the climate zones according to latitude.
30. How do snow and ice help to keep Earth’s temperature from increasing too much?
Snow and ice are white, so they reflect the sunlight (solar radiation). This helps to keep the poles