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Terminology
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Use the search below to find weather related terminology throughout this website.

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The following weather related terms will be continually updated.  New terms will be added. The terms will be arrange alphabetically.

ABC   DEF    GHI     JKLM   NOPR   STUV   WXYZ

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  1. anemometer - an instrument that measures the speed or force of the wind.
  2. cirrus clouds - clouds  that are high in the atmosphere that is thin, white, and feathery in appearance.
  3. cumulus - clouds that have a dome or tower shape with a flat base and a bulging top.
  4. cyclone - a name given to a storm that rotates around a low pressure center commonly known as a hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean, a typhoon on the northwestern part of the Pacific Ocean, and lastly a cyclone in the Indian Ocean.
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  1. downburst - A powerful downward surge of air from the base of a severe thunderstorm.
  2. dust devil - Resembles a tornado but are formed under different circumstances.   First of all, they are not associated with thunderstorms, but occur over the hot surfaces such as a desert, plowed field, or pavement.  The swirling air is formed from superheated air over hot surfaces  rising to cooler air above it.
  3. fronts - The boundary between two air masses.  A cold front is when the air behind an advancing front has cooler air behind it; whereas, the warm front has warmer air. Cold fronts usually move faster than warm fronts.  Fronts extend from the surface of the earth up to the upper layer of the atmosphere (stratosphere).
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  1. hail - Formed in cumulonimbus clouds with strong vertical currents.  It is formed in the upcurrents.  It starts out as a water droplet.  As it is carried upward it freezes into a small ice crystal.  As it travels upward, other supercooled water droplets attach to it and freezes.   When it travels downward more water droplets attach to the icecrystal.  It then travels upward again, freezing again with a new layer of ice.  The hailstone continues to rise and fall and each time growing larger with new layers of ice.  Eventually, the hailstone is too heavy for the up currents to carry it, and the hailstones falls out to the ground as hail.  The size of the hailstone is very indicative of how strong the   currents are in the cumulonimbus clouds.
  2. humidity - amount of water vapor in the air.
  3. hygrometer - an instrument for measuring humidity. 
  4. isobar -  A line on a weather map joining places that have the same air pressure.
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  1. Jet stream - A narrow band of of strong winds in the upper levels of the air located at 30,000 feet.  These winds blow from west to east. Frontal systems develop beneath the jet stream which can spawn tornadoes. The jet stream over North America is called the Polar Front Jet Stream. 

  2. Knot - A unit of speed measuring wind velocity. One knot is equal to one nautical mile, which is 1.15 miles per hour.

  3. Lull - A brief drop in the wind.

 

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  1. Ozone - This is a colorless gas found in the ozone layer.  The ozone layer is between nine and 25 miles above the earth in the stratosphere.  The layer helps prevent some of the harmful ultraviolet rays reaching the surface.  Ozone is a form of oxygen.  A strong smell is associated with ozone.  Ozone can be formed when electric sparks breaks down oxygen gas molecule (2 oxygen atoms break apart).  The separated oxygen then attaches to oxygen molecule forming ozone (3 oxygen atoms combined) .
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  1. squall line - A narrow band or line of thunderstorms.
  2. storm chasers - People who chase storms to gather information about the storm.   These people place instruments in the path of a storm in hopes that a tornado will go over these instruments to gather valuable information that may saves lives.
  3. thermograph - A thermometer that records the temperature on a chart or graph.
  4. twister - another name for a tornado
  5. vortex - Any rotational flow of air about an axis in the atmosphere.
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  1. wallcloud -Clouds that accompanies and precedes tornadoes.  It is when the base of a cumulonimbus cloud abruptly lowers into a circular cloud that is roughly one to four miles in diameter.  The wall cloud is rotating but at a much slower speed and in the same direction.
  2. waterspout - A rotating column of air that looks like a tornado but it extends downward to touch  a water surface and is less violent than a tornado. Peak winds are in the 50 to 100 mph range.
  3. whirlwind - term used for a column of air spinning forcefully upward with a forward motion.
 

                                                        

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