Test your topical knowledge concerning hurricanes, typhoons and other storms, earthquakes, wildfire, climate change, and other phenomena!

Question 1:

How many years and miles apart did Hurricane Ida and Hurricane Katrina make landfall on the coast of Louisiana this year?

1) 16 and 25
2) 17 and 25
3) 16 and 40

Correct answer: 3. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina made landfall on August 29 near Buras as a strong Category 3 storm; exactly 16 years later, Hurricane Ida made two landfalls as a Category 4 hurricane, the first near Port Fourchon and the second soon after southwest of Galliano. The difference in distance between Katrina’s landfall and Ida’s first landfall is about 40 miles. They are two of the most destructive hurricanes to hit Louisiana.

4) 17 and 40

Question 2:

On February 13, an M7.1 earthquake struck northeastern Japan, causing widespread shaking throughout northern Honshu. According to the Japan Meteorological Agency’s (JMA) view, of which quake was this an aftershock?

1) The M9.0 Tohoku earthquake in 2011

Correct answer: 1. According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the hypocenter was located at a depth of ~50 km, about 65 km from the coast of Fukushima. The earthquake occurred close to the downdip edge of the subducting interface, which ruptured during the M9.0 Tohoku earthquake almost exactly 10 years ago on March 11, 2011. The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) views the recent M7.1 quake as an aftershock of the Tohoku quake.

2) The M6.9 Kobe earthquake in 1995
3) The M7.9 Kanto earthquake in 1923
4) The M6.5 Kumamoto earthquake in 2016

Question 3:

Which low pressure system parked itself over Central Europe to cause significant flooding July 13-18?

1) Bernhard
2) Berit
3) Brigitte
4) Bernd

Correct answer: 4. Of all the natural hazards that cause property damage in Europe, flood is the costliest. The Rhineland-Palatinate and North Rhine-Westphalia regions in Germany in particular experienced heavy and, in some cases, historic rainfall. Other countries impacted by the July European Floods  include Belgium, Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg, and the Netherlands.

Question 4:

What weather phenomenon shifted Tropical Cyclone Seroja’s direction, causing it to make landfall in an area of Australia that rarely sees these storms?

1) Upper-level low
2) Mid-latitude trough
3) Fujiwhara effect

Correct answer: 3. Tropical Cyclone Seroja’s brief interaction with Tropical Cyclone Odette was interesting because of the Fujiwhara effect but noteworthy because of how it impacted the surviving storm’s landfall. Tropical cyclones in Australia tend to occur far more frequently near the northern half of the continent, generally above 30° latitude south, as most form off the northwest coast. It is extremely rare for tropical cyclones to travel as far south as Geraldton, which is what Tropical Cyclone Seroja did in April. Geraldton had not experienced such a storm since 1956.

4) Weak ridge

Question 5:

Which state has had more disasters declared than any other in the United States between 1953 and 2020?

1) California
2) Texas

Correct answer: 2. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Texas has had 360 disasters declared between 1953 and 2020, more than any other state. California has had 336, Florida 160, and Louisiana 90. This year the first declared disaster for the state was the Texas severe winter storms in February, which tested the state’s resilience and impacted infrastructure and strategic products.

3) Florida
4) Louisiana

Question 6:

How much snow accumulated in the Spanish capital, Madrid, over four days in January and when was the last year Spain saw so much snowfall?

1) 13 cm (5 inches); 2018
2) 25 cm (10 inches); 2003
3) 38 cm (15 inches); 1989
4) 50 cm (20 inches); 1971

Correct answer: 4. Over the course of four days in January, up to 50 cm (20 inches) of snow fell in Madrid and even higher totals were reported in surrounding areas; this was the region’s greatest accumulation since 1971.

5) 63.5 cm (25 inches); 1921

Question 7:

Twenty years ago, on June 23, 2001, a massive Mw 8.4 subduction zone earthquake struck Peru’s southern coast near Arequipa, about 370 miles southeast of Lima. On the USGS list of the Top 20 Largest Earthquakes in the World, how does the Arequipa quake rank?

1) 3rd
2) 7th
3) 15th
4) 19th

Correct answer: 4. The M8.4 Arequipa earthquake remains 19th on the list of the 20 Largest Earthquakes in the World. The largest ever recorded was the M9.5 Valdivia earthquake in Chile in 1960. The second largest ever recorded and the largest to strike North America remains the M9.2 Great Alaska Earthquake in 1964.

Question 8:

What type of weather phenomenon did Ida’s remnants combine with to produce heavy rainfall in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeastern U.S. and which storm’s rainfall record did it break in Central Park?

1) Frontal zone; Henri

Correct answer: 1. On September 1, Ida was downgraded to an extratropical low as it moved over the Appalachians and into the Northeast, where it combined with a frontal zone—a boundary or transition zone between two air masses of different density, and thus (usually) of different temperature—and produced prodigious rainfall on September 1 and into September 2. The Central Park weather station recorded 3.15 inches of rainfall in 1 hour, breaking the record set only a few days prior by Tropical Storm Henri. In just a few hours, up to 9 inches fell across the region.

2) Atmospheric river; Irene
3) Barrier jet; Sandy
4) Squall line; Isaias

Question 9:

What is the definition of a super typhoon?

1) A tropical cyclone with a maximum wind speed exceeding 120 mph.
2) A tropical cyclone with a maximum wind speed exceeding 137 mph.
3) A tropical cyclone with a maximum wind speed exceeding 150 mph.
4) All of the above.

Correct answer: 4. There is no one accepted definition of a Super Typhoon. The China Meteorological Agency (CMA), for example, uses a maximum wind speed exceeding 120 mph while the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) uses 137 mph. Following Joint Typhoon Warning Center practice, AIR employs the term super typhoon only for storms in the Northwest Pacific with 1-minute sustained winds in excess of 150 mph.

Question 10:

What weather phenomenon caused prolonged extreme temperatures in western Canada and the Pacific Northwest in late June through mid-July?

1) Heat burst
2) Heat dome

Correct answer: 2. A heat dome is caused by a ridge of high pressure that becomes stuck in the atmosphere, trapping a mountain of warm air.

Throughout 2021 dry, hot conditions ravaged large parts of Canada—setting a new Canadian record high temperature of 46.6° Celsius—1.6° higher than the previous record. For crops the impact of this year’s drought is likely to be significant, if not historic.

3) Heat island
4) Harvest effect

Question 11:

The M7.2 August 2021 earthquake in Haiti occurred just 11 years after the M7.0 2010 quake near Port-au-Prince. The 2021 earthquake:

1) Was more destructive than the 2010 earthquake due to the larger magnitude
2) Occurred on the same fault system as the 2010 earthquake, though not in the same location.

Correct answer: 2. The temblors occurred on the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault, although the 2010 earthquake occurred on a smaller, previously unknown fault associated with the system, the Leogane fault.

3) Ruptured the exact same region as the 2010 earthquake, conclusively identifying it as an aftershock.
4) Caused minimal damage because all buildings following the 2010 earthquake were retrofitted to withstand such large events.

Question 12:

Which months see peak activity for tornadoes in the U.S. and which month is tops in U.S. tornado touchdowns?

1) April through June; May

Correct answer: 1. Tornadoes can occur at any time of year in the U.S. but activity peaks from April through June. In March it generally ramps up significantly, and the month can see twice as many tornadoes as February. May is the top month for tornado touchdowns in the U.S. with an average of 276 for the period 1996–2015. In the first quarter of 2021, there were 162 tornadoes reported.

2) There is no peak season; July
3) March through June; April
4) March through May; April

Question 13:

In which years have the largest and second largest wildfires on record in California occurred?

1) 2020 and 2021

Correct answer: 1. Four 2021 wildfires are among the top 20 largest fires recorded in the State of California: the Dixie Fire—second only to last year’s first-ever recorded “gigafire,” the August Complex  Fire—the  Caldor (#14), Monument (#15), and  River Complex (#17). Nine of the top 20 largest fires occurred either this year or last. Only two on the list occurred before 2003, when the Cedar Fire (#9) blazed: the Marble Cone Fire (#20) in 1977 and the Matilija Fire (#16) in 1932.

2) 2003 and 2020
3) 2018 and 2021
4) 1932 and 2020

Question 14:

What is the term for a dangerous slurry mudslide composed of water, rocks, ash, and debris of volcanic origin?

1) Lahar
2) Lanai
3) Ligeti
4) Lehigh

Correct answer: 1. Lahars are dangerous slurry mudslides composed of water, rocks, ash, and debris of volcanic origin. Smaller seasonal events of this type are sometimes referred to as "debris flows."

Question 15:

Accumulated Cyclone Energy (ACE) is a measure of kinetic energy that captures both storm intensity and total duration. Of all the storms in the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season, which one generated the highest ACE?

1) Hurricane Pamela
2) Hurricane Ida
3) Hurricane Larry
4) Hurricane Sam

Correct answer: 4. While it never made landfall, Hurricane Sam was the strongest (Category 4), and longest-lived (12 days) hurricane of the 2021 Atlantic season, coming in at a whopping 53.8 ACE units. Sam singlehandedly accounted for nearly 40% of the season's total ACE as of its final day as a hurricane on October 5. If you add Larry’s 32.8 ACE units, the two storms combined account for the majority of ACE this season. It’s not entirely unusual for one or two storms to account for the majority of seasonal ACE.

2021 Year-in-Review Quiz Results

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