Weather & Climate Georgia Dept of Education "key terms"

Term Definition
atmosphere Mixture of gases that surrounds Earth
air pressure The weight of air pressing down on an area
troposphere The bottom layer of the Earth's atmosphere
stratosphere The layer of the atmosphere in which ozone is present
mesosphere The layer of atmosphere where air is thin and most meteors burn up
thermosphere The outer most layer of the atmosphere
radiation The direct transfer of energy by electromagnetic waves
conduction The transfer of thermal energy that results from the collision of particles
thermal energy The total energy of motion in the molecules of a substance
convection The transfer of thermal energy through liquids and gases
global warming A theory that states: the rise in the average temperature of Earth's atmosphere and oceans since the late 19th century and its projected continuation
greenhouse effect The process by which gases hold heat in the air…this is a function of our atmosphere
temperature The average amount of energy of motion of each molecule of a substance; a measure to determine a substances level of hot or cold
global winds Winds that blow steadily from specific directions over long distances
local winds Winds that blow over short distances
coriolis effect The way Earth's rotation makes winds in the Northern Hemisphere curve to the right and winds in the Southern Hemisphere curve to the left
water cycle The natural sequence through which water passes into the atmosphere as water vapor, precipitates to earth in liquid or solid form, and ultimately returns to the atmosphere through evaporation
jet stream A high-speed, meandering wind current, generally moving from a westerly direction at speeds often exceeding 400 kilometers (250 miles) per hour at altitudes of 10 to 15 kilometers (6 to 9 miles
humidity A measure of the amount of water vapor in the air
relative humidity A comparison of the actual amount of moisture in the air to the greatest possible amount that could be in the air at the same temperature and pressure
evaporation The change of water from liquid water to water vapor
condensation The process by which water vapor changes from a gas to a liquid
cumulus Clouds that form less than 2 kilometers above the ground and look like fluffy, rounded piles of cotton
stratus Clouds that form in flat layers
cirrus Wispy, feathery clouds made mostly of ice crystals that form at high levels, above about 6 kilometers
barometer An instrument that is used to measure air pressure and predict changes in the weather
Meteorologist A science that deals with the atmosphere and with weather
precipitation The liquid water that returns to Earth's surface, usually as rain or snow
air mass A huge body of air that has similar temperature, pressure, and humidity throughout
front The border between two air masses that collide
climate The average, year-after-year conditions of temperature, precipitation, winds, and clouds in an area
anemometer An instrument used to measure wind speed
thunderstorm A very strong storm with a lot of rain, thunder, and lightning
tornado An intense windstorm that often forms within a severe thunderstorm
hurricane A large, spiraling storm system that can be a much as 600 km across
heat The transfer of thermal energy

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