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Unit 4

Weather and Climate

TermDefinition
Weather short-term atmospheric conditions in a particular area (including temperature, humidity, precipitation, wind, and visibility)
Temperature average kinetic energy of molecules in a substance
Thermometer device for measuring temperature
Humidity amount of water vapor in the air
Saturation the point at which the air cannot hold any more water vapor (no more water can evaporate)
Relative humidity amount of water vapor in the air compared to the amount of water needed to reach saturation
Psychrometer device used to measure relative humidity
Dew point temperature at which the air is saturated with water vapor (any cooler, and the water vapor begins to condense back into liquid water)
Evaporation process of a liquid changing into a gas
Precipitation any form of water that falls from the atmosphere to the ground
Condensation process of a gas changing into a liquid
Rain precipitation in the form of liquid water
Snow precipitation that forms when temperatures are cold enough that water vapor sublimes directly from a gas to solid ice crystals
Hail precipitation in the form of “balls” of ice
Sleet precipitation that begins as liquid, but freezes as it falls through the air
Cloud collection of small water droplets or ice crystals suspended in air; forms when water vapor cools and condenses in the atmosphere
Cirrus cloud high-altitude cloud with feather-like shape, made of ice crystals
Cumulus cloud puffy cloud that appears to rise up from a flat bottom
Stratus cloud cloud that forms in a blanket-like layer
Barometer an instrument for measuring atmospheric pressure
Air pressure force caused by collisions of air molecules with surfaces
Density amount of mass in a given volume of a substance
Altitude refers to the distance from the surface of the Earth
Wind air moving from high pressure to low pressure
Anemometer instrument used to measure wind speed
Windsock device used to determine wind direction
Visibility measure of clarity or transparency of air
Air mass large body of air that has similar temperature, pressure, and moisture properties
Water cycle continuous movement of water between Earth’s surface and the air, changing from liquid to gas, to liquid
Front the meeting point between two air masses of different densities (due to different temperatures)
Cold front movement of cold air in to displace warm air
Warm front movement of warm air in to displace cold air
Stationary front the meeting point between two unmoving air masses of different densities/temperatures
High-pressure system a system of falling air; little precipitation
Low-pressure system a system of rising air; more precipitation
Coriolis effect the deflecting of wind and water currents due to the rotation of the Earth
Jet stream a high-speed, high-altitude airstream blowing from west to east near the top of the troposphere; has important effects on the formation of weather fronts
Polar jet stream faster, lower-altitude jet streams that flow nearer to the poles than to the equator in both hemispheres
Subtropical jet stream slower, higher-altitude jet streams that flow nearer to the equator than to the poles in both hemispheres
Climate long-term average weather conditions (temperature and precipitation) in a region
Temperature range the difference between the maximum and the minimum temperature for a particular location
Average yearly precipitation average amount of precipitation in an area each year
Pattern of precipitation precipitation trends in an area at different times of the year
Solar energy energy originating from the sun
Latitude measurement of the location on earth with respect to the equator and the poles
Topography the shape and features of the surface of the Earth
Rain shadow dry region on the side of a mountain that is sheltered from the wind (leeward side)
Elevation distance above sea level
Ocean current large stream of water that flows in the ocean
Surface currents circulating water that flows near the surface of the ocean
Climate zones areas of latitude with similar climates due to the angle at which solar energy reaches the Earth’s surface
Tropical climate zone warm areas near the equator
Temperate climate zone areas of varying temperatures between the poles and the equator
Polar climate zone cold areas near the poles
Tectonic plates moving plates of rock that make up the solid surface of the Earth
Pangaea the original supercontinent which has broken apart over millions of years to form the 7 continents that we have today
Particulates tiny particles of solids suspended in air
Sunspots temporarily dark areas on the sun that may have an effect on Earth’s weather
Ice age periods of global cooling during which polar glaciers spread over a much larger portion of the Earth than usual
Greenhouse effect stabilization of the temperature in the troposphere due to the presence of carbon dioxide and several other gases in the atmosphere
Fossil fuels natural fuels, such as oil, coal, and natural gas; formed millions of years ago from the remains of living organisms
Deforestation removal of large amounts of trees/plants, usually for use as raw materials or to clear land for other use
Carbon sources processes that put carbon into the atmosphere
Carbon sinks processes that remove carbon from the atmosphere
Global warming trend of increasing average yearly temperatures on Earth
Climate models computer programs that allow us to predict future climate changes based on different variables
Created by: SchvederC