Weather Definitions Ipsum

Word Lists: Weather Definitions

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Air mass: an extensive body of air throughout which the horizontal temperature and moisture characteristics are similar. altimeter: an instrument used to determine the altitude of an object with respect to a fixed level. the type normally used by meteorologists measures the altitude with respect to sea level pressure. calm: atmospheric conditions devoid of wind or any other air motion. in oceanic terms, it is the apparent absence of motion of the water surface when there is no wind or swell. cirrocumulus: a cirriform cloud with vertical development, appearing as a thin sheet of small white puffs which give it a rippled effect. it often creates a "mackerel sky", since the ripples may look like fish scales. sometimes it is confused with altocumulus, however, it has smaller individual masses and does not cast a shadow on other elements. it is also the least common cloud type, often forming from cirrus or cirrostratus, with which it is associated in the sky. firewhirl: a tornado-like rotating column of fire and smoke created by intense heat from a forest fire or volcanic eruption. green flash: a brilliant green coloration of the upper edge of the sun, occasionally seen as the sun's apparent disk is about to set below a clear horizon. mesosphere: the layer of the atmosphere located between the stratosphere and the ionosphere, where temperatures drop rapidly with increasing height. it extends between 31 and 50 miles (17 to 80 kilometers) above the earth's surface. multicell storm: a thunderstorm made up of two or more single-cell storms. 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. sand: loose particles of hard, broken rock or minerals. in observing, sand is reported when particles of sand are raised to sufficient height that reduces visibility. it is reported as "sa" in an observation and on the metar. sea level: the height or level of the sea surface at any time. it is used as a reference for elevations above and below. sea level pressure: the atmospheric pressure at mean sea level, usually determined from the observed station pressure. sea mile: a unit of length distinguished from a nautical mile. one sea mile is equivalent to 1,000 fathoms (6,000 feet). snowfall: the rate at which snow falls, usually expressed in inches of snow depth over a six hour period. standard surface pressure: the measurement of one atmosphere of pressure under standard conditions. it is equivalent to 1,013.25 millibars, 29.92 inches of mercury, 760 millimeters of mercury, 14.7 pounds per square inch, or 1.033 grams per square centimeter. standing wave: an atmospheric wave that is stationary with respect to the medium in which it is embedded. supercell: a severe thunderstorm characterized by a rotating, long-lived, intense updraft. although not very common, they produce a relatively large amount of severe weather, in particular, extremely large hail, damaging straight-line winds, and practically all violent tornadoes. supercooling: the reduction of the temperature of any liquid below the melting point of that substance's solid phase. cooling a substance beyond its nominal freezing point. supercooled water is water that remains in a liquid state when it is at a temperature that is well below freezing. the smaller and purer the water droplets, the more likely they can become supercooled. trajectory: the curve that a body, such as a celestial object, describes in space. this applies to air parcel movement also. triple point: the point at which any three atmospheric boundaries meet. it is most often used to refer to the point of occlusion of an extratropical cyclone where the cold, warm, and occluded fronts meet. cyclogenesis may occur at a triple point. it is also the condition of temperature and pressure under which the gaseous, liquid, and solid forms of a substance can exist in equilibrium. 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..

Air mass thunderstorm: a thunderstorm that is produced by convection within an unstable air mass through an instability mechanism. such thunderstorms normally occur within a tropical or warm, moist air mass during the summer afternoon as the result of afternoon heating and dissipate soon after sunset. such thunderstorms are not generally associated with fronts and are less likely to become severe than other types of thunderstorms. however, that does not preclude them from having brief heavy downpours. anticyclone: a relative pressure maximum. an area of pressure that has diverging winds and a rotation opposite to the earth's rotation. this is clockwise the northern hemisphere and counter-clockwise in the southern hemisphere. it is the opposite of an area of low pressure, or a cyclone. arid: a term used for an extremely dry climate. the degree to which a climate lacks effective, life-promoting moisture. it is considered the opposite of humid when speaking of climates. asos: acronym for automated surface observing system. this system is a collection of automated weather instruments that collect data. it performs surface based observations from places that do not have a human observer, or that do not have an observer 24 hours a day. biosphere: the transition zone between the earth and the atmosphere within which most terrestrial life forms are found. it is considered the outer portion of the geosphere and the inner or lower portion of the atmosphere. ceiling: the lowest cloud layer that is reported as broken or overcast. if the sky is totally obscured, then it is the height of the vertical visibility. chocolatta north: a west indian gale that blows from the northwest. cold air funnel: funnel clouds, usually short-lived, that develop from relatively small showers or thunderstorms when the air aloft is very in cold. cold air funnels may touch down briefly, but in general are less violent than most other types of tornadoes. dalton's law: states that the total pressure exerted by a mixture of gases is equal to the sum of the partial pressures of the gases. formulated by john dalton, an english physicist. disturbance: this has several applications. it can apply to a low or cyclone that is small in size and influence. it can also apply to an area that is exhibiting signs of cyclonic development. it may also apply to a stage of tropical cyclone development and is known as a tropical disturbance to distinguish it from other synoptic features. drought: abnormal dry weather for a specific area that is sufficiently prolonged for the lack of water to cause serious hydrological imbalance. intertropical convergence zone (itcz): an area where the northern and southern hemispheric trade winds converge, usually located between 10 degrees north and south of the equator. it is a broad area of low pressure where both the coriolis force and the low-level pressure gradient are weak, occasionally allowing tropical disturbances to form. it fluctuates in location, following the sun's rays, so that during the northern hemisphere summer, the itcz moves northward over the southern north atlantic and southern asia. isotach: a line connecting equal wind speeds. magnetic poles: either of the two points on the earth's surface where the magnetic meridians converge. they are not aligned with the geographical poles, but shift and do not lie exactly opposite of the other. mare's tail: the name given to thin, wispy cirrus clouds composed of ice crystals that appear as veil patches or strands, often resembling a horse's tail. mountain breeze: a katabatic wind, it is formed at night by the radiational cooling along mountainsides. as the slopes become colder than the surrounding atmosphere, the lower levels of air cool and drain to the lowest point of the terrain. it may reach several hundred feet in depth, and extreme cases, attain speeds of 50 knots or greater. it blows in the opposite direction of a valley breeze. national centers for environmental prediction (ncep): as part of the national weather service, the centers provide timely, accurate, and continually improving worldwide forecast guidance products. some of the centers include the aviation weather center, the climate prediction center, the storm prediction center, and the tropical prediction center. formerly known as nmc. : for further information, contact the ncep, with central offices located in silver spring, maryland. national climatic data center (ncdc): the agency that archives climatic data from the national oceanic and atmospheric administration as well as other climatological organizations. : for further information, contact the ncdc, located in asheville, north carolina. ozone (o3): a nearly colorless gas and a form of oxygen (o2). it is composed of an oxygen molecule made up of three oxygen atoms instead of two. pounds per square inch (psi): a unit for measuring pressure. one psi equals the pressure resulting from a force of one pound force acting over an area of one square inch. salinity: a measure of the quantity of dissolved salts in sea water. the total amount of dissolved solids in sea water in parts per thousand by weight. showalter stability index: a measure of the local static stability of the atmosphere. it is determined by lifting an air parcel to 500 millibars and then comparing its temperature to that of the environment. if the parcel is colder than its new environment, then the atmosphere is more stable. if the parcel is warmer than its new environment, then the atmosphere is unstable and the potential for thunderstorm development and severe weather increases. thermosphere: a thermal classification, it is the layer of the atmosphere located between the mesosphere and outer space. it is a region of steadily increasing temperature with altitude, and includes all of the exosphere and most, if not all, of the ionosphere. thunder: the sound emitted by rapidly expanding gases along the channel of a lightning discharge. over three-quarters of lightning's electrical discharge is used in heating the gases in the atmosphere in and immediately around the visible channel. temperatures can rise to over 10,000 °c in microseconds, resulting in a violent pressure wave, composed of compression and rarefaction. the rumble of thunder is created as one's ear catches other parts of the discharge, the part of the lightning flash nearest registering first, then the parts further away. tornado alley: a geographic corridor in the united states which stretches north from texas to nebraska and iowa. in terms of sheer numbers, this section of the united states receives more tornadoes than any other. tropics/tropical: the region of the earth located between the tropic of cancer, at 23.5 degrees north latitude, and the tropic of capricorn, at 23.5 degrees south latitude. it encompasses the equatorial region, an area of high temperatures and considerable precipitiation during part of the year. tropical prediction center (tpc): a division of the national centers for environmental prediction, the center issues watches, warnings, forecasts, and analyses of hazardous weather conditions in the tropics for both domestic and international communities. the national hurricane center is a branch. : for further information, contact the tpc, located in miami, florida. valley breeze: an anabatic wind, it is formed during the day by the heating of the valley floor. as the ground becomes warmer than the surrounding atmosphere, the lower levels of air heat and rise, flowing up the mountainsides. it blows in the opposite direction of a mountain breeze. wind shift: the term applied to a change in wind direction of 45 degrees or more, which takes place in less than 15 minutes. it may the result of a frontal passage, from katabatic winds, sea breezes, or thunderstorms, and in some instances, the change may be gradual or abrupt..

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). blocking high: the development of a warm ridge or cutoff high aloft at high latitudes which becomes associated with a cold high at the surface, causing a split in the westerly winds. such a high will move very slowly, tending to move westward during intensification and eastward during dissipation. it prevents the movement of migratory cyclones across its latitudes. charles' law: states that when the pressure is held constant, the volume of a gas varies directly with the temperature. therefore, if the pressure remains constant, the volume of a gas will increase with the increase of temperature. it was developed by jacques charles and is also known as the charles-guy-lussac law. 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. drainage wind: a katabatic wind, it is caused by the cooling of air along the slopes of a mountain. fresh water: water found rivers, lakes, and rain, that is distinguished from salt water by its appreciable lack of salinity. hygrograph: an instrument that records the hygrometer's measure of water vapor. 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. instability: the state of equilibrium in which a parcel of air when displaced has a tendency to move further away from its original position. it is the condition of the atmosphere when spontaneous convection and severe weather can occur. air parcels, when displaced vertically, will accelerate upward, often forming cumulus clouds and possibly thunderstorms. long wave trough: a wave in the prevailing westerly flow aloft which is characterized by a large length and amplitude. a long wave moves slowly and is persistent. its position and intensity govern weather patterns over a period of days or weeks. pressure change: the net difference between the barometric pressure at the beginning and ending of a specified interval of time, usually the three hour period preceding an observation. summer: astronomically, this is the period between the summer solstice and the autumnal equinox. it is characterized as having the warmest temperatures of the year, except in some tropical regions. customarily, this refers to the months of june, july, and august in the north hemisphere, and the months of december, january, and february in the southern hemisphere. whirlwind: a small-scale, rapidly rotating column of wind, formed thermally and most likely to develop on clear, dry, hot afternoons. often called a dust devil when visible by the dust, dirt or debris it picks up. also slang for a landspout or a tornado. 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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