Meteorology

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Meteorology is a weather-based event designed to test students' basic understanding of the meteorological principles and ability to interpret and analyze meteorological data. It has a main focus topic each year, which rotates between Climate, Everyday Weather, and Severe Storms. A basic knowledge of fronts and air systems, among other common Meteorology topics, is suggested for every year. It is currently only an event in Division B, and no equivalent exists for Division C.

The event is designed for up to 2 people. In 2014, each competitor is allowed one note sheet to bring to the competition.

Event Rotation

The topic of Meteorology changes from year to year.

Season Topic Supplementary Pages
2012 Climate Climate Notes, EpicFailOlympian's Climate Notes
2013 Everyday Weather Everyday Weather Notes, EpicFailOlympian's Everyday Weather Notes
2014 Severe Storms Thunderstorms, Hurricanes, Winter Storms, Mid-Latitude Cyclones

Basic Types of Clouds

(Fair Weather) Cumulus: puffy, light clouds with plenty of space between each other; usually signifies good weather, usually brings little to no precipitation, but can turn into storm clouds like cumulonimbus clouds; name means "heaped" in Latin; low-altitude cloud

Stratus: horizontally-layered greyish clouds; may bring small amounts of precipitation; name means "layered" in Latin; low level cloud

Cirrus: thin, feathery wisps of clouds; also known as "mares' tails," and while the precipitation it releases evaporates before it reaches the ground, it may signify the arrival of precipitation; high-altitude cloud

Stratocumulus: dark, rounded masses of clouds that are usually in groups/layers, occasionally there will be a break in clouds; generally little to no precipitation; low altitude cloud

Cumulonimbus: huge, anvil-shaped vertical cloud, can produce thunderstorms, tornadoes, and other dangerous storms, may form along squall lines, often brings a lot of heavy precipitation

Altocumulus: globular clouds in layers/patches, may signify a thunderstorm to happen later in the day; mid-altitude cloud

Cirrocumulus: light, puffy, short-lived clouds, high-level cloud

Nimbostratus: low to middle level dark layer clouds, produce light to moderate precipitation over a wide area

Altostratus: layer clouds thinner than stratus, but thicker than cirrostratus, sun and moon are somewhat visible and without halos, light precipitation, but little of it reaches ground

Cirrostratus: thin, sheet-like, high-level clouds, quite transparent (sun/moon easily seen), halos very common around sun and moon

Basic Meteorological Information

Although the topic for Meteorology changes from year to year, one should know certain information that serves as a basis for understanding the specifics of each topic.

The Atmosphere

For more information about the Atmosphere, such as its origins and its relation to local wind patterns, please see Meteorology/Everyday Weather#The atmosphere and Meteorology/Climate#Earth's Atmosphere.

Instruments and Diagrams

For more information about meteorological instruments and diagrams, see Meteorology/Everyday Weather#Weather Technology.

Event Information

Resources

The event does not allow any resources during competition, except for a single sheet of paper with notes (written/typed/double-sided etc.) and a non graphing calculator.

Personal resources for studying prior to the competition are not restricted. You should have some sort of Meteorology textbook that has information about all three topics, so you can use it even after the topic changes. Other, more specific and advanced textbooks can also be useful to experienced participants. A useful tactic for studying is looking up topics on Google to get familiar with some subjects before going more specific. Wikipedia is also useful for this purpose.

Making Your Note Sheet

For information about making a note sheet, please see here.

Test Format

A Meteorology test usually is in the form of a written test or a PowerPoint with slides on it. Occasionally, a test may come in the form of stations that each team rotates between. In the written test, it is generally a good idea to split it if possible, so each person has less work to do, and you can spend time reviewing later on. Also, if time is a tiebreaker, that can be used to your advantage. Unfortunately, in the other formats, this cannot be done, but all other teams have the same disadvantage. As long as you are able to answer all of the questions in an educated fashion, your prospects are pretty bright.

Links

University of Illinois Meteorology Guide
NOAA Weather Education
JetStream Online School for Meteorology