Southern AER


Answers to Southern AER Activity Questions

| Fall 1995 | Winter 1995 | Spring
1996 | Summer 1996 | Winter 1996 |
Spring 1997 | Summer 1997 | Fall
1997 | Winter 1997 | Spring 1998 |
Summer 1998 |Fall 1998 | Winter
1998 | Spring 1999 | Summer 1999 |
Fall 1999 | Winter 1999 | Spring
2000 | Summer 2000 | Fall 2000 | Winter
2000 | Spring 2001 | Fall 2004
| Winter 2004
| Summer 2004

Fall 1995 - Olympic Venue Climate Comparisons Activity

1. The largest - Moscow
The least - Los Angeles
2. Greater than 85 - Atlanta
Less than 75 - Moscow
Greater than 80, less than 90 - Seoul & Barcelona
Greater than 80, less than 85 - Barcelona
Greater than 75, less than 80 - Los Angeles
Greater than 75, less than 85 - Montreal
3. Approximately 70 - Atlanta
Between 50 and 56 - Moscow
Greater than 70 - Seoul
Greater than 65, less than 70 - Barcelona
Less than 65, greater than 62 - Los Angeles
Between 57 and 65 - Montreal
4. Greater than 90 - Atlanta
Greater than 62, less than 75 - Moscow
Between 88 and 95 - Seoul
Greater than 85, less than 90 - Barcelona
Greater than 75, less than 80 - Los Angeles
Between 77 and 82 - Montreal
5. Use an atlas to view proximity of Athens, Greece to the waters on three sides and of the location of Atlanta inland to the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.
6. Obtain historical data for Athens from local library or SERCC.
7. Student answers based on atlases and encyclopedias to discover and discuss these descriptions.
8. Student answer

Winter 95 - 1995 Hurricane Season Activity

1. A tropical cyclone becomes named once it reaches tropical storm strength. (maximum sustained winds reaching 35 knots)
2. Tropical cyclones do not originate at the equator because one of the requirements in the formation of a tropical disturbance is the coriolis force. At the equator the coriolis force is nearly zero.
3. Saffir-Simpson Scale
     Scale   Pressure         Winds                    Damage
              (mb)            (MPH)     (Knots)
     1        >980            74-95     64-82          Minimal
     2        965-979         96-110    83-95          Moderate
     3        945-964         111-130   96-113         Extensive
     4        920-944         131-155   114-135        Extreme
     5        less than 920   >155      >135           Catastrophic
4. Plot the map
5. Opal maintained hurricane strength from Oct. 2 at 8:00am until Oct. 5 at 5:00am.
6. A. Lowest pressure recorded was 916 mb.
B. Highest wind speed recorded was 150 mph.
C. The lower the pressure, the higher the wind speed.
7. Bar graph
8. Bar graph
9. Yes, you are discussing the same storms. These are Opal, Luis, Felix, and Marilyn because the lower the pressure, the higher the wind speed.

Spring 96 - Tornado Activity

1. Tornados are associated with thunderstorm activity. The mostly likely time for a tornado to occur is during the spring season. Spring is the time of year when both warm, moist unstable air and cold, dry dense air are present. The mixing of the two different types of air masses produces a highly unstable atmosphere. Sometimes as the air is forced aloft, the wind shear increases with height causing the updraft to rotate, thus causing the birth of a tornado.

2. When a tornado watch has been issued for your area, conditions are favorable for the formation of tornadoes. A tornado warning, however, indicates that either a tornado or funnel cloud has been spotted in the area. Go over with students your school's tornado safety rules. Make sure students know what to do at school and at home if a tornado warning has been issued.

3. The Fujita Tornado Scale is a subjective scale that puts an area's tornado into perspective. With the scale an area can keep track of the most violent storms occurring at specific times of the year. By studying these weather patterns, states may learn to prepare better in the future.

4. The answers are as follows:

unconcerned --- sunny skies and high pressures in the atmosphere are associated with nice days
concerned --- steady drop in the barometric pressure with increasing clouds indicates stormy weather
concerned --- large chunks of ice with little rain are associated with intense thunderstorm activity
unconcerned --- high clouds in the sky known as cirrus clouds are associated with nice weather
concerned --- low lying cumulonimbus clouds extending from the base of thunderstorms could be a wall cloud from which tornadoes may form
concerned --- a dark greenish sky indicates stormy activity and thick dark cumulonimbus clouds
concerned --- a loud wind rush indicates rapid velocity winds which often accompany tornadoes

5. A. DON'T - Never get close to a window! You may get hit from flying debris.
B. DON'T -Never try to outrun a tornado. Tornadoes can travel more than 50 mph and are very unpredictable.
C. DO - If you are in a mobile-home abandon it. It may be lifted by high winds.
D. DON'T - Never seek protection in a high structure. These may be in the direct paths of tornadoes.
E. DON'T - Both a watch and a warning should be taken with caution. Remain alert to changing conditions.
F. DO - A ditch or under a bridge are excellent places to seek shelter if caughtoutside during a tornado.

7. Florida's location (adjacent to water on both sides) results in a constant supply of warm, moist air. When cold air is still present, an unstable atmosphere is created by a clash between the warm and cold air masses. The warm air is forced aloft and thunderstorms develop. Florida and North Carolina inform their citizens of the advancement of tornadoes and how to prepare for them. In Florida, some tornadoes are waterspouts and most tornadoes are weaker in intensity. The number of deaths seems low compared to the number of actual tornado days.

Summer 96 - Hot Summer Days

1. Summer, Spring, Fall, and Winter. The earth not only rotates around the sun but it rotates with a 23.5 degree angle. This tilt is the cause of our seasons. When the earth is tilted toward the sun in June, the Northern Hemisphere has the summer season. Six months later, when the earth is tilted away from the sun, the Northern Hemisphere is experiencing the winter season.

2. Summer

3. June

4. All receive the same

5. The tilt of the earth causes the Southern Hemisphere to experience opposite seasons than the Northern Hemisphere. When the Southern Hemisphere is tilted toward the sun they experience summer while the Northern Hemisphere experiences winter. When the Northern Hemisphere is tilted toward the sun they experience summer while the Southern Hemisphere experiences winter.

6. The winds are moving clockwise around the high pressure system, which often brings warm, moist air from the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico to the southeast United States.

7. A. False, blood does not thicken or thin with temperature.

B. True.
C. False, it was recorded in Death Valley, California, in the desert.
D. False, always wear sunscreen, because 80% of the sun's ultraviolet rays penetrate clouds.
E. True.

8. You should always avoid the sun's rays between these hours because they are the most intense. This is true because the sun's angle is directly overhead intensifying radiation. If you ever experience dizziness, immediately stop what you are doing and seek a cooler place.

9. Warmer

10. The Appalachian Mountains block cool shallow air masses in the Southeast that come in from the Northwest in the summer.


Winter 96 - Cool Winter Weather

1. Television, News, the Weather Channel, Newspaper, Internet, Regional ClimateCenters, National Climatic Data Center.

2. Closest National Weather Service Office, airport weather station, or National Weather Service Cooperative weather station

3. A. Key West, FL due to Florida's position on the continent (nearness to the Atlantic Ocean and latitude).

B. Washington, DC due to Washington, DC's position on the continent (latitude).

4. 4F on February 2, 1961

5. 85F occurred 3 times - February 12, 1982
February 20, 1984
February 22, 1989

6. Key West, FL - 2.54 inches on February 22, 1966
Washington, DC - 1.91 inches on February 11, 1983

7. Answer dependant on data gathered by students.

8. Normals for your area can be obtained by contacting the SERCC via the web at or by phone (803) 737-0849.


Spring 97 - El Nino/Southern Oscillation

1. Teleconnections
2. Southeast to Northwest
3. Upwelling
4. High, Low
5. Southern Oscillation
6. Weaken as a result of the pressure in the eastern portion in the Pacific Ocean.
7. 4-7 years
8. Fishing and Farming
9. Peru
10. Heavy rains and flooding along the West Coast and Gulf States and droughts in the Midwest.
          S A N C H O V Y P K L V T B S A
          T E L E C O N N E C T I O N S T
          R K P N T K Q S R L R B C D S S
          A G S S U B E A U I B M K L G H
          D D R O U G H T I M O J S A T E
          E P A M T S A S P A C I F I C I
          W T C O J P Z T G T E F S B N G
          I U Y K L F A C K E L N I N O P
          N R Z A N E R A I N S K D C B S
          D A B I M K D L D P B M R F S B
          S I P N D T S U P W E L L I N G
ancovy - first line, second letter, across
teleconnections - second line, first letter, across
trade winds - second line, first letter, down
enso - second line, fourth letter, down
drought - fifth line, second letter, across
Peru - first line, ninth letter, down
climate - secon line, tenth letter, down
hazards - fifth line, seventh letter, down
Pacific - sixth line, ninth letter, across
El Nino - eigth line, tenth letter, across
rain - ninth line, seventh letter, across
upwelling - last line, eighth letter, across


Summer 97 - Atlantic Hurricanes in 1997

1. The dates of hurricane season are June 1 - November 30.
2. Warm ocean waters "feed" the storm.
3. Hurricanes do not occur the entire year because in the winter the ocean temperatures are not warm enough for hurricanes to form.
4. Convection occurs because heat rises.
5. Hurricanes usually "die" shortly after reaching shore because there is no warm water to keep them going.
6. Hurricane wind speeds have been recorded as high as 200 mph.
7. A tropical storm is not classified as a hurricane until winds reach 74 mph.
8. The storm surge would have been 20 ft. (23 - 3).
9. Storm surge is worst during high tide.
10. A hurricane watch is issued when a hurricane could hit an area within a few days.

Crossword Puzzle:

1. June1
2. Disturbance
3. Typhoon
4. SouthAtlantic

1. West
2. Depression
3. Storm
4. Convection
5. Warning

Table Questions:
11. 1997 Prediction column has the most named storms.
12. 1997 Prediction has the most intense hurricanes.
13. The prediction for 1997 is above average


Fall 97 - Clouds: Where Would We Be Without Them?

1. False. Clouds can be composed of water droplets, ice crystals, or a combination of both.
2. Warm air can hold more moisture than cold air.
3. Cloud nuclei
4. False. Clouds form from cooling as water vapor condenses.
High clouds are composed of ice crystals.
Middle clouds are composed of a combination of ice crystals and water droplets.
Low clouds are composed of water droplets.

6. True. Fog is a low cloud with its base at the earth's surface.
8. False. Air in the upper atmosphere (of the troposphere) is cool and thin.
9. If clouds did not exist there would be no rain, snow, thunder, lightning, or rainbows.
10. Cumulonimbus

12. Cirrostratus


Winter 97 - Let It Snow!

1. Unlike snow grains, pellets are brittle, crunchy, and they bounce or break apart upon hitting a hard surface.
2. Sleet turns back into ice before striking the surface because it refreezes while falling through the deep freezing layer. Freezing rain does not refreeze until it hits the surface.
3. Low temperatures with winds above 30 knots.
4. Flurries come from cumulus clouds. Snow squalls either fall from cumuliform, nimbostratus, or altostratus.
5. Most precipitation, year round, begins as snow in the upper atmosphere.
6. snow
7. sleet
8. freezing rain
9. Use encyclopedias or storm data reports to obtain storm data for states. You may also contact the SERCC at (803) 737-0849.


Spring 98 - El Nino's Impacts on the Southeast US

1. Student answer. See
2. Above normal precipitation
3. Columbia - 26.55 Birmingham - 30.88 Richmond - 27.02 Atlanta - 27.79 Miami - 21.79 Raleigh - 28.33
4. Columbia - 19.85 Birmingham - 25.46 Richmond - 16.44 Atlanta - 23.52 Miami - 10.97 Raleigh - 17.16
5. Above normal
6. Student answer
7. Florida
8. Student answer
9. Above normal precipitation during winter months


Summer 98 - Acid Rain

1. Acid rain became a problem during the industrial revolution.
2. Unpolluted rain has a pH of 5.6.
3. The strongest acid would have a pH of 0.
4. No, It is not likely that the pH of rain water collected anywhere would have a pH of 7.
This is because distilled water, once in contact with the air, becomes slightly acidic, around 5.6, due to the absorption of carbon dioxide.
5. The major cause of acid rain is the burning of fossil fuels.
6. The main chemicals that cause acid rain are sulfur dioxide (SO2), and nitrogen oxides (NOx).
7. The gases can be produced naturally. Natural sources include swamps, volcanoes, oceans and lightning.
8. The combination of acid rain and dry deposited acid is called acid deposition.
9. Animals that live near lakes may depend on aquatic animals as a primary food source. If aquatic animals are killed from acid rain, the other animals will suffer from food loss.
10. One way acid rain effects trees is by washing essential nutrients out of the soil. Another way trees are effected is by dry deposition. Acids clog the stomata in the leaves of trees, hindering photosynthesis.
11. Historic monuments are being eaten away by acid rain.
12. Acid rain effects human health with respiratory problems including asthma and coughing.
13. Acid rain causes haze that decreases visibility.
14. Acid rain is a regional problem because the pollutants that are emitted out of smoke stacks are blown by the wind. The areas that receive acid rain may not be those where the air pollution is created.
15. New vehicles sold in the United States are required to have catalytic converters that reduce the pollution from exhaust fumes. Alternative energy sources are also being explored. Sulfur may be washed out of coal before it is burned. Sulfur may be washed out of the smoke before it is released from the smokestack.
16. Two ways to reduce the effects of acid rain are to Conserve energy and car pool.


Fall 98 - La Nina

1. There is typically less precipitation during La Nina years.
2. The month of April has the least amount of precipitation.
3. The normal amount of precipitation for the month of December is just over two inches, for January and Febuary the precipitation is almost 3.5 inches.
4. The La Nina years of 1903 and 1904 had the least precipitaion.
5. April has the lowest normal precipitation.
6. Slightly Warmer temperatures are indicated in the chart. 8. 1949 - 1950.
9. Below
10. Student's Answer
11. Student's Answer
12. Yes, this map portrays the drier than normal conditions characteristic during La Nina events in the Southeast United States.


Winter 98 - Lightning

1. About 26 People
2. Florida
3. Florida
4. Because they have more thunderstorms than the other states
5. Georgia
6. In Open Fields
7. They could have crouched on the ground with their head down and only their feet touching the ground
8. About 15 People (Must add "Under Trees" column and "Golfing/Under Trees" columns together)
9. About 3 people
10. About 54 People (Add all columns together)
11. Stepped Leaders (From Diagram)
12. Conductivity refers to the ability of a substance to carry electricity.
13. Cloud-to-ground lightning is the most dangerous to people because it has the power to damage people and the things they value.
14. Updrafts are upward-moving air currents found inside thunderstorms. Downdrafts are downward-moving air currents found inside thunderstorms.
15. Thunder occurs because of the rapid heating of the air around a lightning flash. The heating is so intense and sudden, that the air molecules near a lightning flash explode and create the sound waves we hear as thunder.
16. Five miles. To compute this, just take the number of seconds between the time you spot the lightning flash and the time you hear the thunder (25), and divide by five.
17. It is dangerous because water is a very good conductor of electricity.
18. This is especially dangerous because not only are you standing in an open field, but you are also holding a metal club which conducts electricity.
19. Light waves travel more quickly than sound waves. This is why we see lightning faster than we hear thunder.
20. About 100

Spring 1999, The Hydrologic Cycle

  1. The hydrologic cycle is the circulation and recycling of the earth's water.
  2. It has the ability to exist in three forms: solid (ice), liquid, and gas (water vapor).
  3. As molecules get warmer, they move faster.
  4. Seventy percent of the earth's surface is covered in water.
  5. Evaporation is the physical process that occurs when water is transformed from a liquid into a gas.
  6. As altitude increases, temperature decreases.
  7. Evaporation from the stems and leaves of plants is called transpiration.
  8. Winds move water vapor around the earth.
  9. When the air becomes saturated precipitation occurs.
  10. Four types of precipitation are: rain, snow, sleet, and hail.
  11. The water that is stored under ground moves slowly, eventually surfacing.
  12. Click here for a picture.

Summer 1999 - Hurricane Tracking

  Click here for the plotted track of hurricane Floyd.

Fall 1999 - The Greenhouse Effect


1.   Carbon Dioxide, Methane, Nitrous Oxide, Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), water vapor.

2.    Greenhouse gases are transparent to incoming shortwave radiation from the sun, but block outgoing longwave radiation from the earth back into space.

3.    33 degrees Celsius or 59 degrees Fahrenheit

4.    Increasing population (as well as cars, cattle, rice paddies, etc.) deforestation, and the combustion of fossil fuels.

5.    Laws have been created to limit their availability.

6.    Methane is produced in places where oxygen is scarce such as swamps, bogs and rice paddies. Methane is also produced in the intestinal tracts of cattle and sheep.

7.    No.   

8.    Carbon dioxide is released when organic material is burned or decays.  In addition, Carbon Dioxide is absorbed by forests.

9.    The industrial revolution is the point in time when the combustion of fossil fuels (coal, natural gas, and petroleum) became  characteristic of industrial societies.  This has raised the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at a great rate.

10.  From the mid-nineteenth century to 1994, there was an increase of more than 25% of the carbon dioxide in the air.

Winter 1999 - The Earth's Atmosphere


1.    The atmosphere provides oxygen for living things to breath, and protection from solar radiation.

2.    Nitrogen and Oxygen

3.    Permanent gases comprise a set percentage of the atmosphere. The composition of variable gases vary.

4.    Temperature, gases present, and electric properties.

5.    Troposphere

6.    The rate at which temperature decreases with height. 

7.    troposphere, tropopause, stratosphere, stratopause, mesosphere, mesopause, thermosphere, exosphere.

8.    A temperature inversion is when temperature increases with height rather than decreases.

9.    A temperature inversion exists in the stratosphere because of the large quantity of ozone present there.

10.  Exosphere

Spring 2000 - Mapping the Weather

Answers to isotherm and isobar maps


1.    Weather maps aid in the visualization of the changes in weather over space, as well as how fast storm systems are moving

2.    Interpolation is the technique used to estimate various weather variables at locations where observations are not available by using the closest available observations.

3.    Interpolation is necessary because weather variables are continuous.  The number of weather variables are limited, however, due to the fact that there are a limited number of stations that record weather observations. 

4.    Isobars are lines on a map that connect points of equal pressure.

5.    Isotherms are lines on a map that connect points of equal temperature.

6.    A) Isotherms generally run east to west because latitude plays a large part in controlling temperature variations.  B) There are exceptions to this rule, of course, since other factors that control temperatures include land and water, ocean currents, and elevation. Temperatures vary between coastal locations and inland locations. Temperatures may also vary due to warm or cold ocean currents. Since temperature decreases with height, mountainous areas often have a lower temperature than areas with relatively flat terrain.

Summer 2000 - Understanding Weather Maps

1.  Temperature
2.  Continental
3.  A Front
4.  Clockwise
5. A. 75
    B.  50
    C.  999.7
    D.  21-25 mph
    E.  Northwesterly (from the northwest)
    F.  Five-Tenths
6.  Answer will vary depending on station used.

Fall 2000 - Introduction to Drought


Winter 2000 - No Business like Snow Business


Spring 2001 - Earth Sun Geometry

1.  The earth is farthest from the sun at aphelion, which currently falls on
    July 5.  On this day, earth is 152 million kilometers from the sun.

2.  The earth is closest to the sun at perihelion, which falls on January 5
    currently.  Because the seasons are opposite from the Northern hemisphere
    in the Southern hemisphere due to the tilt of the earth, January 5 is
    during the Southern hemisphere’s summer.

3.  Havana, Cuba is located at 23.1300 degrees North.  December 21 is the
    December solstice, when 23.5 degrees North receives its minimum
    number of hours of sunlight. According to the diagram on daylength, 23.5
    degrees North receives about 10.8 hours of sunlight on December 21.
    Because Havana is very near that latitude, it receives about 10.8 hours
    of sunlight on that date.

4.  Boulder, Colorado is located at about 40 degrees North latitude.  June 21
    is the date of the June solstice.  Looking at the diagram for daylength
    and latitude, we see that at 40 degrees North during the June solstice,
    latitudes of 40 degrees North receive about 14.9 hours of daylight.  We
    can also find this by using the table.

5.  March 21 is the date of the vernal equinox, when all latitudes on earth
    receive 12 hours of daylight regardless of latitude.  Thus Sydney receives
    12 hours of daylight even though it is in the Southern hemisphere (33.9
    degrees South).

6.  Toronto is located in the Northern hemisphere.  Santiago is in the Southern
    hemisphere.  The Northern hemisphere receives more intense sunlight in June
    due to the tilt of the planet towards the sun at this time. Thus, Toronto
    receives more intense sunlight.

7.  At 66.5 degrees South extending to the South Pole (90 degrees), there will
    be 24 hours of sunlight on December 21, the December solstice.

8.  Even though there is 24 hours of daylight on December 21 at 66.5 S, this
    light is shining at an angle that spreads the beam out, making it less intense.
    Think back to the flashlight analogy: as the angle increases, the area covered
    by the sunlight increases, but the intensity of the light decreases.  Thus,
    even though there is 24 hours of daylight, this latitude is not receiving
    direct sunlight, and will still be cold.  With sunlight, quality is as
    important as quantity.

9.  If the earth were tilted 40 degrees, the effect of the seasons would be
    greater.  Winters would be colder, summers would be warmer.  The polar regions
    would heat up more during the summer, and their icecaps could melt more.  In
    the winter, more of the earth would be in 24 hour darkness.  The Arctic circle
    would be located at 50 degrees North and above, instead of 66.5 degrees North
    and above.

10. Our seasons would be reversed.  Summer in the Northern hemisphere would occur
    during the months of December, January, and February; winter would occur in
    June, July, and August.  This same switch would occur in the Southern hemisphere.