Test: Climatology - 3

20 Questions MCQ Test Geography for UPSC (Civil Services) Prelims | Test: Climatology - 3

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Consider the following statements:

1. Westerlies originate in the horse latitudes and move towards the poles.

2. Westerlies move from west to east.

3. Westerlies are strong in the Northern Hemisphere and weakest in the Southern Hemisphere.

Which of the above is /are correct?

  • The Westerlies, anti-trades, are prevailing winds from the west towards the east in the middle latitudes between 30 and 60 degrees latitude. They originate from the high-pressure areas in the horse latitudes and tend towards the poles and steer extratropical cyclones in this general manner.

  • The Westerlies are particularly strong, especially in the Southern Hemisphere, where there is less land in the middle southern latitudes to cause the flow pattern to amplify, or become more north-south oriented, which would slow the Westerlies.

  • The strongest westerly winds in the middle latitudes can come in the Roaring Forties, between 40 and 50 degrees latitude. The Westerlies play an important role in carrying the warm, equatorial waters and winds to the western coasts of continents, especially in the Southern Hemisphere because of its vast oceanic expanse.


The Roaring Forties are strong westerly winds found in the Southern Hemisphere. They are caused due to

1. Air being displaced from the Equator towards the South Pole

2. Earth's rotation

3. Equatorial counter-currents

4. Thermal dipole created in the Pacific Ocean

Select the correct answer using the codes below:

  • Hot air rises at the Equator and is pushed towards the poles by cooler air travelling towards the Equator (an atmospheric circulation feature known as the Hadley cell).

  • At about 30 degrees from the equator, the outward-travelling air sinks to lower altitudes, and continues towards the poles closer to the ground (the Ferrel Cell), then rises again from about 60 degrees as the air joins the Polar vortex.

  • This travel in the 30 to 60-degree zone combines with the rotation of the Earth to move the air currents from west to east, creating westerly winds.


Which of the following factors affects the generation and flow of Equatorial Westerlies?

1. Movement of Inter-tropical convergence zone

2. Coriolis force caused due to the rotation of Earth

Which of the above is/are correct?

Solution: The westerly winds develop within the equatorial trough when the Intertropical Convergence Zone is well north or south of the Equator. The northeasterly or southeasterly trade winds cross the Equator and, because of the reversal of the Coriolis effect, acquire a westerly component. The term is also applied to the westerlies that arc present throughout most of the year in the eastern Indian Ocean.


Which one of the following factors is not connected with the planetary wind system'?

Solution: The general distribution of winds throughout the lower atmosphere is known as planetary winds. Confined within some latitudinal belts, these winds blow rather regularly throughout the year and are basically controlled by the latitudinal pressure belts.
  • The main planetary winds are (i) the North-east and the South-east Trade winds, (ii) the Temperate Westerlies and (iii) the Polar Easterlies, which blow from the polar high-pressure area to the temperate low-. Pressure area.

  • All of them are affected by Coriolis force (Earth's rotation on its axis), and migration of pressure belts apart from how heat patterns vary across the Earth (creating pressure difference).


    Consider the following statements:

    1. Wind will strike your back and continue to the sea if you are sitting on the beach facing the sea on a sunny afternoon.

    2. Wind will strike your face and continue to the sea if you are sitting on the beach with your back facing the sea on a cold night.

    Which of the above is/are correct?

    Solution: During the day, this happens.
    • So, if you are facing the sea, the wind will strike your face and continue to land.

    • During the night, this happens. So, if you are facing the sea, the wind will strike your back and continue to the sea.


    Chinook is an important local wind prevalent in the rocky mountain slopes of USA. Similarly, match the following local winds with the area of their prevalence.

    1. Mistral: North African desert

    2. Foehn: Southern slopes of Alps

    3. Sirocco: Appalachian mountains

    Select the correct matches using the codes below:

    • It flows in the Southern slopes of Alps. It is a strong, cold, northwesterly wind that blows from southern France into the Gulf of Lion in the northern Mediterranean, with sustained high-speed winds.

    • It flows in the Northern slopes of Alps. It is a rain shadow wind that results from the subsequent adiabatic warming of air that has dropped most of its moisture on windward slopes.

    • It flows in African Deserts. It is a Mediterranean wind that comes from the Sahara and can reach hurricane speeds in North Africa and Southern Europe.


    Which of the following are permanent winds on the planet Earth?


    The wind is broadly divided into three types.

    Permanent winds - The trade winds, westerlies and easterlies, constantly blow throughout the year in a particular direction.

    Seasonal winds - Winds change their direction according to the seasons. For example, monsoons in India.

    Local winds - Winds blow only during a particular period of the day or year in a small area. For example, land and sea breeze, and loo.


    Coastal places like Kolkata and Mumbai experience humid and moderate weather. Why?

    • Continentality means that the more a place is surrounded by land, the more extreme its weather will be because land heats faster as compared to the sea.

    • Opposed to this, closeness to the sea moderates weather because in the day the sea heats slower than land. This cool sea breeze blows across the land, thus reducing the day temperatures.

    In the night the sea cools down slower. And the exact opposite happens. This keeps the temperature moderate.


    Generally, the capacity of air to hold moisture in the form of water vapour is likely to be greater in

    • Water vapour capacity increases with temperature increase. At low temperatures, such as in Tundra regions, the air will hold very less moisture as it becomes more compact.

    • Coastal regions generally have moderate temperatures, and the air already has a lot of moisture.

    • The case of option (b) is also similar due to high rainfall and not so high temperatures.

    • In hot subtropical deserts, you will notice that evaporation is very fast, as the air can contain a lot of water vapour due to the aridity and high temperature. So, (c) is the answer.

    QUESTION: 10

    Consider the following statements:

    1. As the air gets warmer, it's capacity to hold moisture increases if all other things are constant.

    2. The white trail left by jets is due to the condensation of moisture from their engines.

    3. Cyclonic rainfall is caused in the meeting of warm and cold air.

    Which of these statements is/are time?

    Solution: Jet planes flying in the sky leave a white trail behind them. The moisture from their engines condenses. We see trails of this condensed moisture for some time when there is no air movement to disturb it. Temperate cyclones are formed due to convergence of warm and cold air masses.

    QUESTION: 11

    Consider the following statements:

    Assertion (A): Warmer air will always have more moisture than cooler air.

    Reason (R): The capacity of air to hold moisture in the form of water vapour is related to air temperature.

    In the context of the above, which of these is correct?

    • The maximum capacity of air to hold water vapour depends on the temperature of the air. Warmer air is capable of holding more water vapour than cooler air is.

    • This, however, does not mean that warmer air actually has more water vapour in it than cooler air. It just means that warmer air has a greater maximum capacity to hold water vapour than docs cooler air.

    • There is an upper limit to the amount of water vapour that can be present in a given mass of air.

    QUESTION: 12

    Regarding humidity consider the following statements:

    1. Absolute humidity is the water content of the air.

    2. Relative humidity, expressed as a per cent, measures the current absolute humidity relative to the maximum for that temperature.

    3. Specific humidity is a ratio of the water vapour content of the mixture to the total air content on a mass basis.

    Which of the above is/are incorrect?

    Solution: All the given definitions are right.

    QUESTION: 13

    Rain clouds appear black in colour despite having the Sun above them because

    1. Clouds accumulate electrostatic charge.

    2. rain-bearing clouds absorb most of the solar insolation falling on them.

    3. Clouds scatter light received by them.

    Select the correct answer using the codes below:

    • The colour of any object depends on its ability to reflect selected wavelengths of light. Consequently, if the object does not reflect any colour, it appears black.

    • The tiny droplets of water in rain clouds scatter the while light of the Sun. Red is scattered first, and violet the last.

    • This happens at such a high altitude that no rays of the Sun reach the bottom of the cloud. Thus, we do not see the rays of the Sun, and this results in a dark effect. As normal clouds have no water, the light is not scattered and thus looks white.

    QUESTION: 14

    These clouds are formed at high altitudes (8,000-12,000 m). They are thin and detached clouds having a feathery appearance. They are always white in colour.

    The above description refers to which type of cloud?

    • A mass of condensed minute water droplets or tiny ice crystals in free air at significant elevations is called cloud.

    • As the clouds are formed over the surface of the Earth at some height, they take different shapes.

    • Depending on their height, expanse, density and transparency or opacity, they are grouped into four types: (i) cirrus; (ii) cumulus; (iii) stratus; (iv) nimbus.

    • Cirrus: Thin and detached clouds formed at high altitudes (8,000-12,000 m). These clouds have a feathery appearance and are always white in colour.

    QUESTION: 15

    Consider the following statements about Dew point.

    1. Dew point is the temperature at which the atmosphere is saturated with water vapour.

    2. The dew point indicates the humidity.

    3. A higher dew point means there will be less moisture in the air.

    Which of the above statements is/are correct?

    Solution: Dew point, the temperature at which the atmosphere is saturated with water vapour when it is cooled without changing its pressure or vapour content. A given volume of air containing much water vapour has a higher dew point than the same volume of drier air; thus, the dew point indicates the humidity. In meteorology, the dew point is applied, for example, in predicting the height of the base of certain types of clouds. A higher dew point means there will be more moisture in the air.

    QUESTION: 16

    You will observe that rainfall generally shows a reducing pattern when moving from the equator to the poles. This is due to

    • Two patterns are broadly observed. One, rainfall reduces from coastal to interior areas. Second, as mentioned in the question, any moisture-laden winds from the ocean will first hit the coastal areas and then interior areas.

    • Moisture would go on reducing as the wind advances further in. Poles receive lesser solar insolation, have lesser evaporation and rainfall. The reverse is true for the equator. So, (a) is correct. Jet streams do not play a significant role here, and so, option (d) can be neglected.

    QUESTION: 17

    Rainfall is moreover the oceans than on the landmasses of the world because

    • Oceans receive lesser solar insolation per unit area due to the cloudiness over them. Clouds reflect solar insolation.

    • Cyclones occur due to intense evaporation and the existence of the low-pressure zone. They are one of the phenomena associated with high rainfall on oceans, not its cause. Since there is more water in oceans and wind movement is unable to carry all cloudiness to land, rainfall is greater in oceans.

    QUESTION: 18

    Which of the following regions is more likely to receive more than 200 cm of annual rainfall?

    1. Western coasts of cool temperate zones

    2. Coastal areas of monsoon land

    3. Central parts of tropical land

    Choose the correct answer using the codes below:

    Solution: More than 200cm per annum

    1. Equatorial belt (also evenly distributed)

    2. Windward sides of the mountain

    3. Western coasts of cool temperate zones (also evenly distributed)

    4. Coastal areas of monsoon land

    QUESTION: 19

    When the availability of water in different storages and reservoirs like aquifers, lakes, reservoirs, etc. falls below what the precipitation can replenish, then it is called as


    Types of Droughts

    • Meteorological Drought: A situation where there is a prolonged period of inadequate rainfall that is characterised by an unfair distribution of the same over time and space.

    • Agricultural Drought: Also known as soil moisture drought, characterised by low soil moisture that needs to support crops, leading to crop failure. Besides, if the gross cropped area under irrigation in a region is more than 30%, then that region is excluded from the category of drought-prone area.

    • Hydrological Drought: If water availability in various storages and reservoirs such as aquifers, lakes and reservoirs falls below what the rainfall can refill.

    • Ecological Drought: If a natural ecosystem's productivity falls because of water shortage and ecological distress, the ecosystem is induced to damage.

    QUESTION: 20

    Consider the following statements:

    Assertion (A): The eastern coasts of continents within the tropics have much heavier rainfall than the interiors of the west coasts.

    Reason (R): All western coasts fall in the rain shadow zone.

    In the context of the above, which of these is correct?

    • Islands and coastal areas 10° to 20° north or south of the equator usually have a tropical marine climate. The ocean is the mam's influence in creating the tropical marine climate.

    • The temperature ranges from 25 °C to 35°C. The trade winds blow all year round. The trade winds are moist, as they have passed over warm seas. Since they are easterlies, they cause greater precipitation on the eastern coasts and run dry on the western coasts and interiors.

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