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Science Vocab


Atmosphere a mixture of gases that surrounds a plant or moon.
Stratosphere the layer of the atmosphere that is above the troposphere and in which temperature increases as altitude increases.
Troposphere the lowest layer of the atmosphere , in which temperature decreases at a constant rate as altitude increases.
Thermosphere the uppermost layer of the atmosphere , in which temperature increases as altitude increases.
Air pressure the measure of the force with which air molecules push on a surface.
Radiation the transfer of energy as electromagnetic waves.
Thermal conduction the transfer of energy as heat through a material.
Convection the movement caused within a fluid by the tendency of hotter and therefore less dense material to rise, and colder, denser material to sink under the influence of gravity, which consequently results in transfer of heat.
Global warming a gradual increase in the overall temperature of the earth's atmosphere generally attributed to the greenhouse effect caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons, and other pollutants.
Greenhouse effect the trapping of the sun's warmth in a planet's lower atmosphere due to the greater transparency of the atmosphere to visible radiation from the sun than to infrared radiation emitted from the planet's surface.
Wind the perceptible natural movement of the air, esp. in the form of a current of air blowing from a particular direction.
Coriolis force an effect whereby a mass moving in a rotating system experiences a force (the Coriolis force) acting perpendicular to the direction of motion and to the axis of rotation.
Westerlies in a westward position or direction.
Trade winds a wind blowing steadily toward the equator from the northeast in the northern hemisphere or the southeast in the southern hemisphere, esp. at sea.
Polar easterlies The polar easterlies (also Polar Hadley cells) are the dry, cold prevailing winds that blow from the high-pressure areas of the polar highs at the north and south poles towards low-pressure areas within the Westerlies at high latitudes.
Jet stream a narrow, variable band of very strong, predominantly westerly air currents encircling the globe several miles above the earth. There are typically two or three jet streams in each of the northern and southern hemispheres.
Air pollution Air pollution is the introduction of particulates, biological molecules,or other harmful materials into the Earth's atmosphere, possibly causing disease, death to humans, damage to other living organisms such as food crops, or the natural or built envir
Acid precipitation Acid rain is a rain or any other form of precipitation that is unusually acidic, meaning that it possesses elevated levels of hydrogen ions.