Mike’s Bi-Weekly quiz…Week 3: Weather & Climate

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    Mike Gilbert

    Weather and climate affect us as paddlers in so many ways…from making life on the water and in camp so beautiful and exciting to forcing us to stay on land because sea state is just too mean for paddlers to be on the water.  Let’s have a little refresher and maybe gain some new knowledge about this huge influence on our fun paddle times…


    1. Of all the different elements that make up weather, which has the greatest influence on our decision as to whether (excuse the pun) we paddle or not?

    2. When analyzing weather and trying to come up with trends that might influence our time on the water, how many different levels or scales of weather are there and which would most accurately address any concerns?

    3. Name at least 5 sources you could reach out to for current, accurate weather information (assume your are out in the field camped on some island).

    4. What four things should we pay attention to in order to make short term weather predictions for potential changes to the weather in the area we are currently paddling?  And how often should our attention be drawn to these four things when out on the water?

    5.  What is the neutral barometric pressure in millibars (mb)?

    6. Name two factors that determine wind speed.

    7. Where in Canada has the highest barometric pressure ever been recorded and what was it?  What would that mean for paddling (what would you see happening around you?)

    8. Where in Canada has the lowest barometric pressure ever been recorded and what was it?  What would that mean for paddling (what would you see happening around you?)

    9. What is a “Hadley” cell?

    10. Name 10 different cloud formations and what would each mean to you as a sea kayaker when on a multi-day expedition?

    11.  What is the maximum wind speed recognized by Paddle Canada for a) Basic Paddlers, b) Level 1 Paddlers and c) Level 2 Paddlers?

    12.  For a low pressure cell, which way does the wind rotate (clockwise or counter clockwise) and where does it move the fastest (centre or edge of the cell)?

    13.  What are the main differences in weather that can be expected between a warm front and a cold front?  What would these mean for us as kayakers?

    14.  How much does wind affect our paddling speed when paddling into it vs having it push us from behind?  Wind speed: 5 kt, 10 kt, 15 kt, 20kt and 25 kt.

    15.  Is there a maximum wind speed sea kayakers should not be out on the water in?  If so what speed would that be?

    16.  Who has heard of “Buys Ballot Law” and what does it mean?  How would knowing this help us when out in the field?

    17.  List 3 signs of deteriorating weather.

    18.  List 3 signs of improving weather.

    19. When looking at weather and any trip (short or long), when should you be deciding if the trip is a “Go”  or a  “No Go”?  Where might one of the last places be to make that decision?

    20. Although we do not get too many thunderstorms out here on the west coast, what would you do if you heard thunder or saw lightning while out on the water?

    21.  If you are off the water during the passing of a flash cold front thunder and lightning storm, when would you consider it safe to get back on the water and is there a way of measuring that?

    Have fun with the quiz.  I hope you enjoy it, refresh from it and learn from it.


    Mike Gilbert

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