Here's a quiz for when April showers force you indoors.
Answers are on page 23.

1. True or false? One of the results of urban air pollution along the Eastern Seaboard is that it is more likely to rain on Saturday than Monday.

2. Although El Nino and La Nina are (roughly) five-year climate patterns related to temperature and air surface pressure over the Pacific, they still have an effect on weather in the Chesapeake region. Which of these is correct?

A. El Nino years tend to be wetter; La Nina years tend to be drier.
B. El Nino years tend to be drier; La Nina years tend to be wetter.

3. Acid rain is formed when the burning of fossil fuels - such as coal, oil or natural gas - releases nitrogen compounds or sulfur dioxide into the air, where sunlight causes them to react and form sulfuric or nitric acids, which mix with the rain. There are many places where acid rain has changed the pH level of waterways. What are some of the adverse reactions that acid rain has had on fish in the Chesapeake watershed?

A. The change in pH levels causes the ionic body salts in some fish to be released, eventually killing them.
B. Acidic water interferes with fishes' reproductive organs, forming a mucous that suffocates eggs and fry.
C. It enters the groundwater, releasing aluminum in the soil, which enters waterways and leads to levels that can be toxic to fish.
D. All of the above.

4. What is the main difference between fog and mist?

A. Fog is denser than mist.
B. Fog forms at lower altitudes than mist.
C. Fog is colder than mist.
D. There is no difference; they are two different terms for the same weather phenomenon.

5. Raindrops are not shaped like tears. Some are more spherical, while others are oblate (slightly flattened spheres). Which is true?

A. The bigger the drop, the more oblate it is.
B. Warmer temperatures cause the drops to become more oblate.
C. The shape of rain cloud determines the shape of the drop.
D. The wind speed present during the rainfall determines the shape of the drop. Stronger winds produce more spherical drops.

6. A rain garden consists of deep-rooted native plants that have been planted in a shallow depression near a source of runoff, such as a driveway, drain spout, sump pump or parking lot. Its purpose is to prevent runoff from reaching a sewer system or waterway. What are the benefits of a rain garden? There may be more than one answer

A. The garden absorbs pollutants such as pet waste, road salts, oil and other chemicals before they can reach waterways or water treatment plants.
B. The plants take up fertilizer and pesticides in the runoff, reducing the nutrient pollution reaching local waterways, and eventually the Bay.
C. They are beautiful.
D. They provide habitat for bird and beneficial insects.

7. In addition to rain gardens, which of these are other ways that homeowners can reduce polluted runoff from reaching local waterways? There may be more than one answer.

A. Installing a rain barrel near a downspout.
B. Replacing paved surfaces with permeable ones such as gravel.
C. Installing a swimming pool.
D. Replacing the trees with a lawn.

8. Although the difference may be very slight, humidity affects the weight of the air at sea level.

A. Humidity makes air heavier.
B. Humidity makes air lighter.
C. This is a trick question. They both weigh the same.

9. Heavy spring rain, and resulting freshets (floods caused by heavy rains or thawing snow) are a mixed blessing for the Chesapeake's oysters. Why? There may be more than one answer.

A. Heavy rain scours local waterways and sends more sediment pollution into the Bay, which buries the oysters.
B. Floods wash the oysters out of the Bay and into the Atlantic Ocean.
C. Freshets reduce the salinity of the Bay's water, reducing or eliminating MSX, an oyster disease that requires high-salinity water.
D. Flooding drowns the oysters.


1. True
2. A
3. D
4. A
5. A
6. A, B, C & D
7. A & B
8. B
9. A & C