Weather Definitions Ipsum

Word Lists: Weather Definitions

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Alberta clipper: a fast moving, snow-producing weather system that originates in the lee of the canadian rockies. it moves quickly across the northern united states, often bring gusty winds and cold arctic air. barometric pressure: the pressure exerted by the atmosphere at a given point. its measurement can be expressed in several ways. one is in millibars. another is in inches or millimeters of mercury (hg). cape verde islands: a group of volcanic islands in the eastern atlantic ocean off the coast of west africa. a cape verde hurricane originates near here. cirrus: one of the three basic cloud forms (the others are cumulus and stratus). it is also one of the three high cloud types. cirrus are thin, wispy clouds composed of ice crystals and often appear as veil patches or strands. in the mid-latitudes, cloud bases are usually found between 20,000 to 30,000 feet, and it is the highest cloud that forms in the sky, except for the tops, or anvils, of cumulonimbus, which occasionally build to excessive heights. electromagnetic spectrum: the band of electromagnetic radiation with components that are separated into their relative wave lengths. the portion of the spectrum that the human eye can detect is called visible light, between the longer infrared waves and the shorter ultraviolet waves. the various types of energy comprising the spectrum are (from longest to shortest) radio, infrared, visible, ultraviolet, x-rays, gamma rays, and cosmic rays. el niño: the cyclical warming of east pacific ocean sea water temperatures off the western coast of south america that can result in significant changes in weather patterns in the united states and elsewhere. this occurs when warm equatorial waters move in and displace the colder waters of the humbolt current, cutting off the upwelling process. flash flood: a flood that rises and falls quite rapidly with little or no advance warning, usually as the result of intense rainfall over a relatively small area. flash floods can be caused by situations such as a sudden excessive rainfall, the failure of a dam, or the thaw of an ice jam. foehn: a warm dry wind on the lee side of a mountain range, whose temperature is increased as the wind descends down the slope. it is created when air flows downhill from a high elevation, raising the temperature by adiabatic compression. classified as a katabatic wind. fresh water: water found rivers, lakes, and rain, that is distinguished from salt water by its appreciable lack of salinity. frontolysis: the destruction or dying of a front where the transition zone is losing its contrasting properties. the opposite of frontogenesis. gravitation: the mutual attraction between two masses of matter. the rotation of the earth and the atmosphere modifies this attraction to produce the field of gravity. icicle: ice that forms in the shape of a narrow cone hanging point down. it usually forms when liquid water from a sheltered or heated source comes in contact with below-freezing air and freezes more or less rapidly as it flows. intermountain high: an area of high pressure that occurs during the winter between the rocky mountains and the sierra-cascade ranges. it blocks the eastward movement of pacific cyclones. also called plateau high or great basin high. isobar: the line drawn on a weather map connecting points of equal barometric pressure. latent heat: the energy released or absorbed during a change of state. nautical mile: a unit of length used in marine navigation that is equal to a minute of arc of a great circle on a sphere. one international nautical mile is equivalent to 1,852 meters or 1.151 statue miles. plan position indicator: also known as a ppi scope, it is a radar indicator scope displaying range and azimuth of targets in polar coordinates. roll cloud: a relatively rare, low-level, horizontal, tube-shaped cloud. although they are associated with a thunderstorm, they are completely detached from the base of the cumulonimbus cloud. snow roller: the product of moist, cohesive snow that when initiated by wind rolls across the landscape, gathering snow until it can no longer move. it is shaped like a rolled sleeping bag, some reaching four feet across and seven feet in diameter. straight-line winds: any surface wind that is not associated with rotation. an example is the first gust from a thunderstorm, as opposed to tornadic winds. syzygy: the points in the moon's orbit about the earth at which the moon is new or full. : : temperature: the measure of molecular motion or the degree of heat of a substance. it is measured on an arbitrary scale from absolute zero, where the molecules theoretically stop moving. it is also the degree of hotness or coldness. in surface observations, it refers primarily to the free air or ambient temperature close to the surface of the earth. thermodynamics: study of the processes that involve the transformation of heat into mechanical work, of mechanical work into heat, or the flow of heat from a hotter body to a colder body. undercast: in aviation, it is an opaque cloud layer viewed from an observation point above the layer. from the ground, it would be considered an overcast. universal time coordinate: one of several names for the twenty-four hour time which is used throughout the scientific and military communities. vernal equinox: taking place in the northern hemispheric spring, it is the point at which the ecliptic intersects the celestial equator. days and nights are most nearly equal in duration. it falls on or about march 20 and is considered the beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere and autumn in the southern hemisphere. it is the astronomical opposite of the autumnal equinox. vortex: any circular or rotary flow in the atmosphere that possesses vorticity..
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