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Backpacker Magazine – October 2010

Test Your Meteorological IQ - Answers


Was this quiz too easy?
Test your knowledge of cloud types, and how you can use them to predict the weather in our Cloud Quiz.
1. False Though less frequent, they do happen. In 2004 a tornado touched down in Sequoia NP at an elevation of 12,000 feet.

2. True and false You’ve heard, “Red sky at night, sailor’s delight. Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.” The sky’s redness is caused by sunrays reflecting off dust particles when there’s little cloud cover and stable air. Our weather typically comes from the west, so a red sky at dusk means a high-pressure system (good weather) is coming. A red sky as the sun rises in the east means the high-pressure system has already passed, and a low-pressure storm system may be approaching, especially if the sky is a deep, fiery red (a sign of water vapor). With polluted air, all bets are off. Smog causes red skies at dawn and dusk.

3. True Neither will seagulls; hoofed animals, meanwhile, head for lower elevations.

4. True Stir your coffee, creating bubbles. If the bubbles amass in the center, you’re in a high-pressure system, which is making the coffee’s surface convex (higher in the middle). Since bubbles are mostly air, they migrate to the highest point. It’s going to be a beautiful day. If the bubbles form a ring around the sides of the mug, you’re in a low-pressure system, making the surface concave. Rain is likely. Note: It has to be strong, brewed coffee to have enough oil to work, and the mug must have straight sides.

5. False In fact, some become quiet.

6. True With low barometric pressure, natural springs flow from the ground faster. Also, ponds look cloudier since a higher volume of marsh gases brings muck to the surface.

7. True Count the chirps for 14 seconds, then add 40. So 20 chirps means it’s 60°F outside. Crickets are correct within one or two degrees 75 percent of the time.

8. True This means a high-pressure system is upon you. But if, on a calm night, smoke hugs the ground, then disperses, a low-pressure system has arrived.

9. True Humidity and wind from low-pressure systems carry sound waves farther.

10. Mostly true It’s the calm before the storm.

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