AP Environmental Science : Atmosphere

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Environmental Science

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Example Questions

Example Question #21 : Introductory Concepts And Earth Science

The weather event known as La Niña results in which of the following?

Possible Answers:

Drought in Western South America

Dry season in Southern Africa

Hurricanes in the Gulf of Mexico

Drastic rise in sea level on the coast of Japan

Warming of the Indian Ocean

Correct answer:

Drought in Western South America

Explanation:

La Niña usually results in a warming of the water along the equator, which changes weather patterns across the world. South America experiences a severe drought, while precipitation is pushed South towards Africa.

Example Question #1 : Weather

The Smokey Mountains are known for the fog that hovers over the mountains. Fog is created when water vapor condenses and suspends. What measurement of atmosphere moisture is used to predict fog?

Possible Answers:

Convection currents

Climate

Dew point

Precipitation

Correct answer:

Dew point

Explanation:

The correct response is dew point. This is a measurement of the temperature at which water vapor will condense. If the dew point temperature and air temperature are within a few degrees of each other, then fog is likely.

Example Question #2 : Weather

It is difficult to predict the meteorological conditions of our world on a day to day basic. Meteorologists sometimes miss a snowstorm or underestimate a powerful rainstorm on any given day. However, we do understand the general trends in temperature and rainfall for any given year. The trends in temperature and rainfall for a given region are referred to as __________

Possible Answers:

precipitation

climate

weather

season

Correct answer:

climate

Explanation:

The correct response is climate. The word climate refers to constant weather patterns over many years. The word weather refers to the day-to-day conditions. 

Example Question #1 : Atmospheric Movement And Patterns

When talking about atmospheric circulation, what latitude range do the trade winds occupy?

Possible Answers:

 to 

 to 

 to 

 to 

 to 

Correct answer:

 to 

Explanation:

Trade Winds are a result of hot air from the equator rising, cooling and then sinking and dispersing within the 30 N to 30 S range, with a range of 30 degrees on both sides of the equator.

Example Question #14 : Atmosphere

Which terms best fits the following definition?

"The cyclical pattern of rising hot air, cooling of air, and sinking of colder air, resulting from exposure to sunlight (heat energy)."

Possible Answers:

Atmospheric Circulation

Solar Wind

The Greenhouse Effect

La Niña

El Niño

Correct answer:

Atmospheric Circulation

Explanation:

Atmospheric circulation is the process in which air heated at a lower altitude rises because it is less dense than cold air, and the resulting cooling and dispersal/fall of the chilled air results in a natural circulation of air in the atmosphere.

Example Question #1 : Atmospheric Movement And Patterns

Where in the atmosphere does weather occur?

Possible Answers:

Mesosphere

Stratosphere

Troposphere

Thermosphere

Correct answer:

Troposphere

Explanation:

An easy way to know where the weather occurs in the atmosphere is to think of clouds. Since clouds are where precipitation originates and another form of a cloud can be low dwelling fog, you know that weather must appear close to the earths surface, and the lowest part of the atmosphere is the Troposphere.

Example Question #1 : Atmospheric Movement And Patterns

In 1735, a scientist named George __________ hypothesized how air currents circulate and the mechanism that he discovered was named after him. His subsequent theory helps to describe the mechanics that cause air currents to rise at the equator and fall at the thirty degree latitudes?

Possible Answers:

Mason cells

Hardy-Weinberg cells

Hadley cells

Janzen-Connell cells

McLeod Cells

Correct answer:

Hadley cells

Explanation:

The correct response is "Hadley." George Hadley developed the theory of the Hadley Cell. This is the only answer choice that referred to a scientist that studied atmospheric movements. Two of the answer choices have nothing to do with the atmosphere and they are general theories of ecology such as the Janzen-Connell hypothesis regarding biodiversity and the Hardy-Weinberg principle that is associated with genotype frequencies. Last, Mason and McLeod were fabricated for the sake of the question.

Example Question #2 : Atmospheric Movement And Patterns

What is the Coriolis effect?

Possible Answers:

The effect of shifting air due to heating and then cooling as the air rises

The global circulation of air due to patterns of heating and cooling of the air

The effect latitude has on global air movement

The effect the Earth's rotation has on the movement of air and water in the atmosphere and oceans

The effect of ocean currents on air movement

Correct answer:

The effect the Earth's rotation has on the movement of air and water in the atmosphere and oceans

Explanation:

The Coriolis effect is the interaction between an object traveling on Earth and the rotation of the Earth. Objects appear to be moving in straight lines, but are actually moving in curves in space.

Example Question #1 : Atmosphere Ocean Relationships

Which of the following products are NOT exchanged between the ocean and the atmosphere?

Possible Answers:

Heat

Correct answer:

Explanation:

All of the products are exchanged except for nitrogen dioxide; most nitrates are exchanged between the soil and the atmosphere. Oxygen is readily exchanged between air masses and water masses during the water cycle. Carbon dioxide is also absorbed by the oceans from air masses through gas exchange. Lastly, heat is also exchanged mainly due to the differences in specific heat content of water and the surrounding air. 

Example Question #2 : Atmosphere Ocean Relationships

Which of the following does NOT actively remove carbon from the atmosphere?

Possible Answers:

Fossilization of organic matter

Planting/restoring native flora in a disturbed ecosystem

Driving a hybrid car

Planting urban foliage and shelterbelts

Atmospheric carbon being absorbed by the world's oceans

Correct answer:

Driving a hybrid car

Explanation:

Unlike the other processes, driving a hybrid vehicle does not actively remove carbon from the atmosphere. Trees and native flora that are planted absorb atmospheric carbon, fossilization removes carbon from the active recycling of carbon, and carbon dioxide readily dissolves in seawater. Driving a hybrid car releases less carbon into the atmosphere than driving one powered solely by fossil fuels; however, driving a hybrid vehicle does not actively remove carbon from the atmosphere. Hybrid vehicles produce fewer carbon emissions, but they do not take carbon out of the atmosphere.

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