Vocabulary Review

Term Definition
Weather The short term state of the atmosphere, including temperature, humidity, precipitation, wind and visibility.
Humidity The amount of water vapor in the air.
Relative Humidity The ratio of the amount of water vapor in the air to the amount of water vapor needed to reach saturation at a given temperature.
Water Cycle The continuous movement of water from sources on the Earth's surface into the air, onto and over land, into the ground, and back to the surface.
Condensation When water vapor cools and changes from a gas to a liquid. Clouds form by this process.
Evaporation When liquid water changes into water vapor, which is a gas.
Runoff Water, usually from precipitation, that flows across the land and collects in rivers, streams and eventually the ocean.
Precipitation When rain, snow, sleet, or hail falls from the clouds to the Earth's surface.
Saturated When air holds all of the water that it can at a given temperature.
Pyschrometer An instrument that is used to measure relative humidity. It contains both a wet and dry bulb thermometer.
Dew Point The temperature at which a gas condenses into a liquid.
Cloud A collection of millions of tiny water droplets or ice crystals.
Cumulus Clouds Puffy white clouds that tend to have flat bottoms. Usually indicates fair weather but can produce thunderstorms.
Cumulonimbus Clouds Large cumulus clouds that produce lightning.
Stratus Clouds Clouds that form in layers and can produce all types of weather..
Nimbostratus Clouds Dark stratus clouds that produce light to heavy rain.
Fog A Stratus cloud that forms near the ground.
Cirrus Clouds Thin, feathery white clouds found at high altitudes.
Air mass A large body of air where the temperature and moisture content are similar throughout.
Source regions Area over which air mass forms.
Front The boundary between air masses of different densities and usually different temperatures.
Cyclone An area in the atmosphere that has lower pressure than the surrounding areas and has winds that spiral toward the center.
Anticyclone The rotation of air around a high pressure center in the direction opposite to Earth's rotation.
Cumulus Clouds Heaping puffy clouds
Stratus Layered clouds
Cirrus Curled
Cirro High clouds
Alto Medium level clouds in the atmosphere.
Nimbo clouds that produce precipitation
Strato Lowest
Thunderstorm A usually brief heavy storm that consists of rain, strong winds, lightning and thunder.
Lightning An electric charge that takes place between two oppositely charged surfaces, such as between two clouds, or between two parts of the same cloud.
Thunder The sound caused by the rapid expansion of air along an electrical strike.
Tornadoes A destructive rotating column of air that has very high wind speeds, is visible as a funnel shaped cloud and touches the ground.
Hurricane A severe storm that develops over tropical oceans and whose strong winds of more than 120 km/h spiral in toward the intensely low pressure storm center.
Typhoons Hurricanes in the western Pacific Ocean.
Cyclones Hurricanes that form over the Indian Ocean.
Hurricane Eye Center of the hurricane, a core of warm calm air with low pressure and light winds.
Hurricane Eye Wall Surrounds the eye made of bands of cumulonimbus clouds.
Rain Bands Bands of rain outside the eye wall of the hurricane.
Storm Surge A wall of water that builds up over the ocean because of strong winds and low atmospheric pressure.
Tornado Watch A weather alert that lets people know that tornado might happen.
Tornado Warning A weather alert that lets people know that a tornado has been spotted.
Weather Forecast A prediction of weather conditions over the next 3 to 5 days.
Meteorologist A person who observes and collects data on atmospheric conditions to make weather predicitions.
Weather Balloons Carry equipment into the atmosphere that aids in measuring temp, winds speed, etc…
Thermometer A tool used to measure air temperature.
Barometer An instrument used to measure air pressure.
Anemometer An instrument used to measure wind speed.
Radar and Doppler Radar Used to find the location, movement, and amount of precipitation.
Weather Satellites Orbit the earth providing images of weather systems.
Severe Weather Weather that can cause property damage and sometimes death.

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