Physical Geography

  1. Through a discussion of an automobile’s defrost system, explain why arctic regions are so dry, even during the summer months. First explain, generally, the relationship between the temperature of air and its ability to hold moisture. Second, explain why the defrost in an automobile works best when using fresh air. Make sure you discuss both specific and relative humidity in your answer. Finally, relate the automobile’s defrost to cold, dry arctic air.
  1. Explain why Denali (Mt. McKinley) is often covered with a cap of stratiform clouds. Explain what sort of process(es) might lead be leading to atmospheric lifting and cooling on the mountain (be specific!). Describe how the clouds actually form through a discussion of dew point and cloud formation process. Finally, describe the environmental lapse rate as it relates to the adiabatic lapse rate during the formation of stable atmospheric conditions.
  1. Explain how a rain drop is formed. Make sure that you begin by explaining the relationship between the temperature of the air, its ability to hold moisture and the dew point. Then, explain how clouds are formed and how precipitation forms within clouds and then falls out.
  1. One type of atmospheric lifting is convergence. Convergence occurs where large masses of air converge regularly due to global pressure conditions. In Alaska convergence occurs in the general area known as the polar front. Identify the remaining three types of atmospheric lifting, describe each and cite an example of the conditions under which you would be able to find this lifting in Alaska.
  1. Discuss the regular, cyclonic weather systems which Anchorage experiences. Name the weather system and generally describe what it is. Briefly describe how the weather system is generated by upper-air flows. Explain how the cyclonic system affects air masses along the polar front. Describe the movement of frontal systems in the cyclone. And explain how the system moves. Use diagrams if necessary.
  1. Explain what a thunderstorm is and what some of the key weather hazards associated with it are. In your answer, explain the atmospheric conditions that lead to a thunderstorm. Identify the key types of precipitation found in such a storm and explain this precipitation and explain two other key weather hazards found in these storms.

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