How Much Do You Know About Weather and Climate?

Unless you’ve been living in a cave for the past few years or you’ve just returned from Mars, you can’t have failed to notice just how much the news has been full of talk about climate change, global warming, floods, droughts, heat-waves and the weather in general.

So, how much do you really know about it? Do you know all about high pressure areas and the effects of the Jet Stream, or do you struggle to tell greenhouse gases from greenhouse glass? Here’s a quick quiz to test your knowledge.

The questions gradually get harder and there are some bonus points to be had for real brain-boxes – so it’s one for the whole family to try. Have fun – and good luck!

1. What is studying the climate called?

  • a) Climatology
  • b) Cinematography
  • c) Cryogenics

2. What is the Greenhouse Effect?

  • a) Increased public awareness of green issues.
  • b) Global warming caused by CO2 and other gases stopping heat from escaping.
  • c) Growing your own food to reduce transport emissions.

3. Why are people concerned about melting glaciers?

  • a) It could make the sea level rise.
  • b) Fewer places could host the winter Olympics.
  • c) Lots of penguins would lose their homes.

4. Which gas is blamed for causing so much trouble to the climate?

  • a) Carbon monoxide
  • b) Carbon dioxide
  • c) Carbon tetrachloride

5. What shape is a snowflake?

  • a) A six-armed star shape
  • b) A diamond shape
  • c) A box

6. Which of these winds is the STRONGEST?

  • a) Severe gale
  • b) Strong breeze
  • c) Violent storm

7. Which is the WETTEST English county?

  • a) Cambridgeshire
  • b) Cornwall
  • c) Cumbria

8. Which of the following is NOT a type of cloud?

  • a) Cirrus
  • b) Cartilaginous
  • c) Cumulonimbus

9. What is the real difference between fog and mist?

  • a) Fog contains more water droplets than mist.
  • b) Mist contains more water droplets than fog.
  • c) Fog contains water droplets, mist is made up of tiny ice crystals.

10. Forecasters often talk about a “ridge of high pressure” – but what will it bring?

  • a) Gale force winds
  • b) Settled sunny weather
  • c) Unsettled weather

11. What is the science of weather called?

  • a) Metropolis
  • b) Metronomes
  • c) Meteorology

12. Some people use the word “anthropogenic” to describe climate change – but what does it mean?

  • a) Happening very quickly.
  • b) Man-made.
  • c) Natural or unavoidable.

Bonus Questions for Brain-boxes!

They’re a bit more complicated than just picking a, b or c – you’ll need to work out your own answers to these two!

13. What is the difference between climate and weather?

14. Why are sea levels expected to rise?


1. a – it’s called climatology.

2. b – The greenhouse effect is the warming caused when CO2 and other gases trap heat and stop it from being able to escape.

3. a – melting glaciers making the sea level rise, although the other two possibilities might be bad news for penguins and sports fans!

4. b – the big baddie of climate change is, of course, carbon dioxide.

5. a – snow consists of six-armed flakes and no two are ever exactly the same!

6. c – with wind speeds of between 64 and 72 mph, a violent storm is the strongest; a severe gale blows at 47–54 mph and while a strong breeze will make large branches sway, it only travels at 25–31 mph.

7. c – Cumbria; according to the Met Office, in 2009, three of the 10 wettest places in Britain were in Cumbria. Scotland had six of the others and, despite what you might have expected, only one – Capel Curig – was in Wales.

8. b – cartilaginous, which refers to cartilage, not clouds! Cirrus are those wispy white filaments high up in the sky, while cumulonimbus are the low, anvil-headed clouds that often bring thunderstorms.

9. a – the only difference is that fog contains more water droplets; when that means that you can’t see more than 1000 metres in front of you, a mist officially becomes fog.

10. b – Forecasters love their ridges of high pressure, largely because they often bring settled sunny weather to the British summer! High pressure isn’t always welcome though – in the winter it can mean frost and fog.

11. c – it’s meteorology, from the Greek “meteoron” – things going on in the sky. The word meteor to describe a shooting star shares the same origin.

12. b – anthropogenic means man-made; anthropogenic climate change refers to the effects that human activities have on the planet’s weather patterns.

13. Weather is what happens from day to day and hour to hour – the wind, rainfall, snow and temperature we experience. Climate is the general pattern of weather taken over a much longer time – the average weather we experience over the decades and centuries.

14. There are two reasons – one is that as water warms up, it expands (thermal expansion) and the other is that the water from melting glaciers and other areas of land-ice will flow into the sea, adding to the volume and making the level rise. If you got both of them, give yourself a bonus point for being a real brain-box!

How did you do?

  • 15 points – Warm and sunny!
  • 10 to 14 points – Brightening up
  • 3 to 9 points – A little cloudy
  • 0 to 2 points – Lost in the fog