2021 Year in Review Quiz
Test your topical knowledge concerning hurricanes, typhoons and other storms, earthquakes, wildfire, climate change, and other phenomena!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.