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Weather Terms

A guide to words and terms used in Meteorology

Term Meaning
Altitude The height above sea level.
Anemometer An instument for measuring wind velocity.
Anticyclone An area of hign pressure. (Fine weather)
Atmosphere A gaseous envelope that surrounds the Earth.
Barograph Instrument to measure the rise or fall of atmospheric pressure.
Barometer Instrument to measure atmospheric pressure
Bora Cold wind in the Ardiatic Sea
Cirrus A high layer of cloud
Cold Front A mass of air which is formed when cold air pushes forward and pushes warm air out of it's path.
Continental Air Mass of air which comes from a large area of land.
Corona A ring or rings encircling the Sun or moon that sometimes preceeds unsettled weather.
Crepuscular Rays Lines of watery light that appear to radiate from the Sun, often seen before a shower.
Cumulus A white puffy cloud often associated with showery weather.
Cyclone An area of low atmospheric pressure that rotates clockwise in the Southern hemisphere and anti-clockwise in the Northern hemisphere.
Dewpoint The temperature to which any given mass of air is cooled to raise it's humidity to 100%.
Electrometer Instrument for measuring amount of electricity in the air, used especially in thundery weather.
Evaporation Difference between the readings of the wet and dry bulbs of a thermometer.
Evaporimeter Instrument for measuring the degree of evaporation.
Fohn A wind in the Alpine villages which carries an excessive dry heat.
Freezing Level The height above ground at which water will freeze.
Freezing Point 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celcius.
Front A surface in the atmosphere which divides two masses of contrasting air
Haboob A dust-storm of the Sudan.
Halo A misty circle or circles around the sun or moon preceding the advance of a rain area.
Harmattan A sand-storm originating in the Sahara desert
Heavenly Cross A sun pillar that is crossed by a horizontal bar
High An abbreviation for an area of high barometric pressure. (Fine weather)
Humidity The amount of water vapour in a given mass of air.
Hurricane A tropical cyclone
Hygrometer Instrument to measure moisture in the atmosphere.
Inversion A level in the upper atmosphere where the usual decrease of temperature with altitude is reversed.
Isobar A line drawn on a weather map through a series of places that have equal readings of barometric pressure.
Isotherm A line drawn on a weather map through a series of places that have equal readings of temperature
Khamsin A hot, dry, dust-laden wind in Egypt.
Low An abbreviation for an area of low barometric pressure. (Rainy Area)
Maritime A term applied to an air mass whose source is over a large expanse of water.
Meteorology The study of weather.
Mistral A cold wind that blows through the Rhine Valley.
Mock Sun A sky phenomena giving the appearance of a second fainter sun at the side of the real one, caused by a cirrus cloud on occasions.
Nimbus A rain cloud
Occluded Front A combination of two fronts, either a cold front lifting a warm front or a warm front lifting a cold one.
Ozone A gas, on and above the Earth's surface, each of whose molecules consist of three atoms of Oxygen.
Ozonometer Instrument for measuring amount of Ozone in air at any particular place at a given time.
Phenology Nature records, including dates of flowering of plants, leafing of trees, arrivals of bird migrants, etc.
Radio Sonde A small balloon attached to an instrument for taking soundings in the upper air.
Ridge An area of high barometric pressure of greater lenght than width, and therefore shaped like a ridge, which usually divides two areas of low pressure.
Sirocco A hot, dry wind which blows along the Mediterranean.
Stratosphere The position of the Earth's atmosphere next above the level of the troposphere.
Stratus A type of cloud that often drifts accross hilltops in parallel layers or combines with other types of cloud.
Sun Pillar A vertical column of light sometimes seen extending above and below the Sun, caused by the reflection of the Sun's rays on the vertical sides of crystal columns in the atmosphere.
Superior Air A mass of air whose source is in the upper troposphere.
Synoptic Charts Weather maps
Thermograph Instrument for recording the temperature.
Thermometer Instrument for measuring the temperature.
Troposphere The portion of the atmosphere lying next to the Earth's surface that reaches up to the base of the stratosphere.
Trough An area of low pressure with greater length than width, and thus shaped like a trough, which usually lies between two areas of high pressure
Warm Front A frontal surface formed when warm air is advancing and pushing cold air before it.
Wave A small bend in a stationary front
Willy Willy A minuature tornado peculiar to Australia.

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This page (weather.html) was last modified on Sunday 27/01/2013