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Here are just some answers that have come from
my meteorology classes and exams...

TEST # 1

  1. Average sea level pressure is 29.92 inches of mercury: this is equivalent to approximately 1013 millibars.
  2. If an object absorbs more energy than it emits (and everything else remains constant), the objects temperature increases.
  3. A region of surface low pressure is characterized by low level convergence and upper level divergence.
  4. Carbon dioxide, methane, and ozone are all greenhouse gasses.
  5. In terms of spatial scales, a tornado would be considered a mesoscale event.
  6. The pressure gradient force wants to move air from higher toward lower pressure everywhere on Earth.
  7. The geostrophic wind is a balance between the pressure gradient force and the Coriolis effect.
  8. On average, temperature drops 3.6 degrees F per 1000 feet in the troposphere. This is called the environmental lapse rate.
  9. When objects emit more radiation than they absorb they undergo a net cooling.
  10. . When clouds form the evaporation process is reversed. This is called the latent heat of evaporation.


  1. The nitrogen cycle is how nature recycles materials. Decaying bacteria break down dead plants and animals to form ammonia nitrates (salts). Plants use these nitrates to make plant protein. When animals or humans eat the plants it makes animal or human protein. When humans or animals die, the whole cycle starts over again. Also, lightning causes nitrogen in the air to join with oxygen to make nitrates which mix with rain and fall to the earth.
  2. The doppler effect is when an object is moving towards a radar and has a high frequency, when it moves away it has a lower frequency. Doppler radar is actually radial velocity mode which shows wind speed and direction. Conventional radar, base reflectivity, shows precipitation and storm intensity, whats in the air.
  3. The four ways a front can be located on a map are by looking at the isobars, isotherms, isodrosotherms, and streamlines.

TEST # 2

  1. Rising air cools at a rate of 5.5 degrees per 1000 feet, this is called the dry adiabatic lapse rate.
  2. Downdrafts and updrafts found side by side relate to the mature stage of a thunderstorm.
  3. Other than evaporation, transpiration and sublimation are two ways water vapor is put into the atmosphere.
  4. Where the pressure gradient force equals the pull of gravity is called hydrostatic equilibrium.
  5. Mesoscale Convective Complexes (MCC's) form primarily at night and are fed by low level jet streams.
  6. Gust fronts are a direct result of downdrafts within a thunderstorm.
  7. Water vapor molecules respond to increasing heat by exerting a greater pressure called vapor pressure.
  8. On a windy day the vapor pressure gradient would be larger.
  9. Clouds become visible when water vapor condenses onto tiny airborne particles called condensation nuclei.
  10. . Precipitation loading occurs when strong updrafts suspend raindrops and hailstones high in a thunderstorm.
  11. . Two things needed for clouds to form are warm humid air, and cooling until net condensation occurs.
  12. . The moist adiabatic lapse rate of cooling is 3.3 degrees F per 1000 feet.
  13. . Jet streaks are pockets of faster moving winds embedded within the jet stream.
  14. . The process by which air is forced to rise because of terrain is called orographic lifting.


  1. The precipitation theory is when ice crystals, or water high in a cloud collide with hail and create friction which staticly electrifys a cloud. This is the theory on how lightning begins.
  2. Dew point is the temperature at which the air needs to be cooled to for moisture / condensation to form. Relative humidity is the percentage of water vapor in the air. If the dew point is equal to the temperature, humidity will be at 100%.
  3. The jet stream is a small fast-moving pocket of air aloft. When the jet stream migrates it can move the location of pressure systems which in turn can change weather patterns throughout the country. A meridianal flow is when the flow can bend and usually creates troughs and ridges. The zonal flow is just a West to East pattern.
  4. A rain shadow is usually formed when orographic lifting occurs. A rain shadow usually occurs on the leeward side of the island because that is where the air is rising creating cumulus clouds and rain. When the air reaches the moutain peak it will race down the other side of the mountain, (cooler air falls).

TEST # 3

  1. The Intertropical convergence zone (ITCZ) is a region of surface convergence and rising motion.
  2. A well-developed low pressure system typically has a cold front extending to its South and a warm front extending to its East.
  3. The subtropical jet stream overhead is not a favorable condition for hurricane formation.
  4. Increasing surface pressure, on average off the coast of Peru is not a characteristic of El Nino.
  5. Tropical Disturbance, Tropical Depression, Tropical Storm, Hurricane are in order from least to most organized when talking stages leading to a hurricane.
  6. As a cold front "catches up" to a warm front, the warm sector shrinks and a occlusion forms.
  7. Swift high level winds that blow from West to East in latitudes near 30 degrees make up the Sub-tropical jetstream.
  8. In a mature mid-latitude cyclone, the mild region of uniform temperatures and moisture is called the warm sector.
  9. The forced ascent of warm air over cold air is called overrunning.
  10. The monsoon season is a seasonal change in the wind direction. Cloudiness, precipitation, and air temperature may be altered in response to this change in wind direction.
  11. The low moving away from the area of maximum divergence is what actually causes an occlusion.
  12. Surface waters diverging over equatorial regions produces upwelling.
  13. As a mass spirals closer to axis of rotation, it spins faster. This is known as conservation of angular momentum.
  14. Hurricanes do not form at the equator because the Coriolis effect is too small.


  1. The structure of a hurricane is not that complex. First you have individual cells that will pop up far out from the storm. Next you will have some lowering of the clouds which will be associated with the outer rain bands. Then the storm will get very intense with the rain shield bringing heavy winds and horizontal rain. The most intense part of the storm, the eyewall, comes next. Then you reach the eye where it will be calm and nice and bring that "false sense of security". The process will then reverse.
  2. In the ITCZ air from the Northern hemisphere rushes South and air in the Southern hemisphere rushes North. This "convergence" creates a cloud ring that encircles the globe!

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Page last modified: August 7th, 2006