Weather Definitions Ipsum

Word Lists: Weather Definitions

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Backscatter: a radar echo that is reflected, or scattered, at 180 degrees to the direction of the incident wave. also the scattering of radiant energy into space before it reaches the earth's surface. buys ballot's law: describes the relationship of the horizontal wind direction to the pressure distribution. in the northern hemisphere, if one stands with one's back to the wind, the pressure on one's left is lower than the pressure on one's right. it is reversed in the southern hemisphere. this law was named after the dutch meteorologist, buys ballot, who developed the formula in 1857. chocolatta north: a west indian gale that blows from the northwest. climate analysis center (cac): the u.s. national weather service division that applies new technology and approaches to the analysis, diagnosis, and projection of short term climate fluctuations on a regional and global basis. : for further information, contact the cac, located in camp spring, maryland. cumulonimbus: a vertically developed cumulus cloud, often capped by an anvil-shaped cirriform cloud. also called a thunderstorm cloud, it is frequently accompanied by heavy showers, lightning, thunder, and sometimes hail, tornadoes or strong, gusty winds. downslope effect: the warming of an air flow as it descends a hill or mountain slope. earthquake: a sudden, transient motion or trembling of the earth's crust, resulting from the waves in the earth caused by faulting of the rocks or by volcanic activity. ecliptic: the sun's apparent path across the sky that tracks a circle through the celestial sphere. geophysics: the study of the physics or nature of the earth and its environment. it deals with the composition and physical phenomena of the earth and its liquid and gaseous envelopes. areas of studies include the atmospheric sciences and meteorology, geology, seismology, and volcanology, and oceanography and related marine sciences, such as hydrology. by extension, it often includes astronomy and the related astro-sciences. heat lightning: lightning that appears as a glowing flash on the horizon. it is actually lightning occurring in distant thunderstorms, just over the horizon and too far away for thunder to be heard. hudson bay low: an area of low pressure over or near the hudson bay area of canada that often introduces cold air to the north central and northeast united states. icelandic low: a semi-permanent, subpolar area of low pressure in the north atlantic ocean. because of its broad area and range of central pressure, it is an area where migratory lows tend to slow down and deepen. it is strongest during a northern hemisphere winter and early spring, centered over iceland and southern greenland, and is the dominate weather feature in the area. during the summer, it is weaker, less intense, and might divide into two parts, one west of iceland, the other over the davis strait between greenland and baffin island. then the azores or bermuda high becomes the dominate weather feature in the north atlantic. infrared: the long wave, electromagnetic radiation of radiant heat emitted by all hot objects. on the electromagnetic spectrum, it can be found between microwave radiation and visible light. water vapor, ozone, and carbon dioxide are capable of absorbing or transmitting infrared radiation. may be referred to as ir. lee/leeside/leeward: the side of an object or obstacle, such as a ship's sail, a mountain, or a hill, furthest away from the wind, and therefore, protected from the direct force of the wind. the opposite of windward. metar: acronym for meteorological aerodrome report. it is the primary observation code used in the united states to satisfy requirements for reporting surface meteorological data. minimum reporting requirements includes wind, visibility, runway visual range, present weather, sky condition, temperature, dew point, and altimeter setting. mud slide: fast moving soil, rocks and water that flow down mountain slopes and canyons during a heavy a downpour of rain. multiple vortex tornado: a tornado which has two or more condensation funnels or debris clouds, often rotating around a common center. pressure altitude: the altitude in standard atmosphere at which a given pressure will be observed. it is the indicated altitude of a pressure altimeter at an altitude setting of 29.92 inches of mercury, and is therefore the indicated altitude above the 29.92 constant pressure surface. rain gauge: an instrument used to measure the amount of rain that has fallen. measurement is done in hundredths of inches (0.01"). snowflakes: an ice crystal or an aggregate of ice crystals which fall from clouds. snow flurry/flurries: light showers of snow, generally very brief without any measurable accumulation. may be reported as "shsn--" in an observation and on the metar. solstice: the point at which the sun is the furthest on the ecliptic from the celestial equator. the point at which sun is at maximum distance from the equator and days and nights are most unequal in duration. the tropic of cancer and the tropic of capricorn are those parallels of latitude which lies directly beneath a solstice. in the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice falls on or about december 21 and the summer solstice on or about june 21. standing cloud: any type of isolated cloud, generally formed over peaks or ridges of mountainous areas, that appears stationary or standing over the terrain. storm winds: on the beaufort wind scale, a wind with speeds from 56 to 63 knots (64 to 72 miles per hour). stratosphere: the layer of the atmosphere located between the troposphere and the mesosphere, characterized by a slight temperature increase and absence of clouds. it extends between 11 and 31 miles (17 to 50 kilometers) above the earth's surface. it is the location of the earth's ozone layer. unstable/ instability: occurs when a rising air parcel becomes less dense than the surrounding air. since its temperature will not cool as rapidly as the surrounding environment, it will continue to rise on its own. wind chill index: the calculation of temperature that takes into consideration the effects of wind and temperature on the human body. describes the average loss of body heat and how the temperature feels. this is not the actual air temperature..

Advection fog: fog that develops when warm moist air moves over a colder surface, cooling that air to below its dew point. baroclinity: the state of stratification in a fluid in which surfaces of constant pressure intersect surfaces of constant density. also known as baroclinicity. an example is the tight temperature gradient along the east coast of the united states during the winter that gives rise to intense cyclogenesis. celestial equator: the projection of the plane of the geographical equator upon the celestial sphere. day: considered a basic unit of time as defined by the earth's motion. it represents the time needed for one complete revolution of the earth about its own axis. also know as a sidereal day, it is approximately equal to 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4.09 seconds. drought: abnormal dry weather for a specific area that is sufficiently prolonged for the lack of water to cause serious hydrological imbalance. 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. isotach: a line connecting equal wind speeds. polar air mass: an air mass that forms over a high latitude region. continental polar air (cp) is formed over cold surface regions and is typically very stable with low moisture. maritime polar air (mp), produced over warmer waters, is less stable with high moisture. season: a division of the year according to some regularly recurring phenomena, usually astronomical or climatic. for example, in the northern hemisphere, winter is said to begin on the winter solstice and end on the vernal equinox when spring begins, covering the months of december, january, and february. in the tropics, there is the dry and the rainy season, depending on the amount of precipitation. shower: precipitation from a convective cloud that is characterized by its sudden beginning and ending, changes in intensity, and rapid changes in the appearance of the sky. it occurs in the form of rain (shra), snow (shsn), or ice (shpe). it is reported as "sh" in an observation and on the metar. snow eater: any warm downslope wind, or foehn, that blows over snowy terrain and melts the snow. snow level: the elevation in mountainous terrain where the precipitation changes from rain to snow, depending on the temperature structure of the associated air mass. station pressure: the atmospheric pressure with respect to the station elevation. vertical temperature profile: a series of temperature measurements taken at various levels in the atmosphere that show the thermal structure of the atmosphere over a specific location. obtained through a rawinsonde sounding or comparable method, and exhibited in a skew t-log p diagram. wet bulb depression: dependent on the temperature and the humidity of the air, it is the difference between the dry bulb and the wet bulb readings. wind wave: an ocean or lake wave resulting from the action of wind on the water's surface. after it leaves its fetch area, it is considered a swell..

Clinometer: an instrument used to measure angles of inclination. used in conjunction with a ceiling light, it determines cloud height at night, based on the angle of a projected light on the clouds, the observer, and the ceiling light. closed low: a region of low pressure distinguished by a center of counterclockwise circulation (in the northern hemisphere), and is surrounded by one or more isobars or height contours. closed lows aloft (i.e., above the surface) may become disconnected from the primary westerly flow and thus progress eastward more slowly. it is important to note that a cutoff low is a closed low, but not all closed lows are cutoff lows. cooling degree day: a cooling degree day is given for each degree that the daily mean temperature departs above the baseline of 75 degrees fahrenheit. it is used to estimate the energy requirements and is an indication of fuel consumption for air conditioning or refrigeration. coriolis effect: a force per unit mass that arises solely from the earth's rotation, acting as a deflecting force. it is dependent on the latitude and the speed of the moving object. in the northern hemisphere, air is deflected to the right of its path, while in the southern hemisphere, air is deflected to the left of its path. it is greatest at the poles, north and south, and almost nonexistent at the equator. frontolysis: the destruction or dying of a front where the transition zone is losing its contrasting properties. the opposite of frontogenesis. low pressure system: an area of a relative pressure minimum that has converging winds and rotates in the same direction as the earth. this is counterclockwise in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere. also known as an cyclone, it is the opposite of an area of high pressure, or a anticyclone. macroburst: a large downburst with an outflow diameter of 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) or larger and damaging winds. observation: in meteorology, the evaluation of one or more meteorological elements, such as temperature, pressure, or wind, that describe the state of the atmosphere, either at the earth's surface or aloft. an observer is one who records the evaluations of the meteorological elements. vortex: any circular or rotary flow in the atmosphere that possesses vorticity. windward: the direction from which the wind is blowing. also the upwind side of an object. the opposite of the downwind or leeward side..
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