Glossary of meteorology

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This glossary of meteorology is a list of terms and concepts relevant to meteorology and the atmospheric sciences, their sub-disciplines, and related fields.




A[edit]

B[edit]

backscatter
ball lightning
Barbs
barograph
A scientific instrument used to measure and record changes in atmospheric pressure over time.
baroclinity

Also called baroclinicity.

barotropity

Also called barotropicity.

barometer
A scientific instrument used to measure atmospheric pressure.
Beaufort scale
Bernoulli's principle
black ice
blizzard
blowing dust or sand
blowing snow
bounded weak echo region (BWER)
bow echo
breeze
Bulk Richardson Number (BRN)
A dimensionless ratio related to the consumption of turbulence divided by the shear production of turbulence (the generation of kinetic energy caused by wind shear). It is an approximation of the Gradient Richardson Number.
buoyancy
bushfire
Buys Ballot's law

C[edit]

D[edit]

E[edit]

F[edit]

G[edit]

H[edit]

I[edit]

J[edit]

jet stream

K[edit]

L[edit]

M[edit]

MAFOR
marine cloud brightening
marine stratocumulus
mesoscale convective complex (MCC)
mesoscale convective discussion (MCD)
mesoscale convective system (MCS)
mesoscale convective vortex (MCV)
mesoscale meteorology
mesocyclone
mesohigh
mesolow
mesonet
mesovortices
METAR
Météo-France
meteorology
microburst
micronet
A weather observation network even denser than a mesonet, such as the Oklahoma City Micronet.
microscale meteorology
mini-supercell
A distinct kind of supercell that is smaller than a typical supercell.
mini-tornado
A fallacious term often used in news media to refer to damaging winds accompanying a thunderstorm, indifferently caused by tornadoes or microburst, on a small area.
misocyclone

Also called a landspout.

misoscale meteorology
mixing ratio
Modified Fujita Scale
An update to the original Fujita scale from 1971 proposed by Ted Fujita in 1992.
moisture convergence
An area where moisture concentrates due to the air flow near the surface.
mountain breeze
mountain-gap wind
multicellular thunderstorm
multiple-vortex tornado
moisture
monsoon
Morning Glory cloud
mudflow
mudslide

N[edit]

National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP)
National Hurricane Center (NHC)
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
National Science Foundation (NSF)
National Severe Storms Forecast Center (NSSFC)
A predecessor forecasting center to the Storm Prediction Center that was located in Kansas City, Missouri.
National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL)
A NOAA lab in Norman, Oklahoma tasked with researching severe weather.
National Tornado Database
The official NOAA record of all known tornadoes within the United States from 1950 to present.
National Weather Center (NWC)
National Weather Service (NWS)
National Weather Service Training Center (NWSTC)
negatively tilted
(or negative tilt)
nephelometer
nephoscope
NEXRAD
nimbostratus cloud
noctilucent cloud
nor'easter

Also called a northeaster.

A macro-scale extratropical cyclone, especially one which impacts the middle and north Atlantic coasts of North America. The name derives from the direction of the winds that most strongly affect the eastern seaboard between the months of October and March; accompanied by very heavy rain or snow, causing severe coastal flooding and hurricane-force winds.
Novaya Zemlya effect
nowcasting
numerical weather prediction

O[edit]

occluded front
okta

Also spelled octa.

A unit of measurement used to describe the amount of cloud cover at a given location in terms of how many eighths of the sky are covered in clouds, ranging from 0 oktas (completely clear) to 8 (completely overcast) or sometimes 9 oktas (indicating that the sky is obstructed from view).
omega equation
opacity
orographic cloud
orographic precipitation
overcast
overshooting top
OU-PRIME
outflow
outflow boundary
outflow jet
ozone depletion
ozone layer

P[edit]

Q[edit]

Q-vectors
quantitative precipitation estimation (QPE)
quantitative precipitation forecast (QPF)
quasi-geostrophic equations
quasi-linear convective system (QLCS)
quasistatic approximation

R[edit]

S[edit]

sandstorm
sastrugi

Sing. sastruga; also spelled zastrugi.

Sharp, irregular grooves or ridges formed on a snow surface by wind erosion, saltation of snow particles, and deposition, usually parallel to the prevailing winds. They are often found in the polar regions and in large, open areas such as frozen lakes in cold temperate regions.
satellite tornado
scud
sea breeze
sea spray
season
severe thunderstorm
severe weather
shelf cloud
shortwave trough
SIGMET
simoom
single cell thunderstorm
sirocco
skew-T log-P diagram
Skywarn

Sometimes stylized as SKYWARN.

The storm-spotting program of the US National Weather Service. Skywarn organizations have also been formed in Europe and Canada.
skipping tornado
slush
snow
snow gauge
snow grains
snow roller
snowdrift
snowsquall
snowstorm
SODAR
solarimeter
sounding rocket
spring
sprite
squall line
St. Elmo's fire
standard atmosphere
stationary front
steam devil
Stevenson screen
storm
storm cell
storm chasing
Storm Data and Unusual Weather Phenomena (SD)

Also simply abbreviated to Storm Data.

A National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) publication beginning in 1959 which details quality-controlled tornado and other severe weather summaries as the official NOAA record of such events.
storm shelter
storm spotting
storm surge
Storm Prediction Center (SPC)
Storm Track
straight-line wind
stratocumulus cloud
stratus cloud
summer
Stüve diagram
sun dog
sunshine recorder
sunshower
supercell
subtropical cyclone
surface weather analysis
surface weather observation
synoptic scale meteorology

T[edit]

U[edit]

V[edit]

valley breeze
valley exit jet
vertical draft
vertically integrated liquid (VIL)
vertical wind shear
virga
virtual temperature
visibility
visual flight rules (VFR)
A set of regulations under which a pilot operates an aircraft in weather conditions generally clear enough to allow the pilot to see where the aircraft is going, as opposed to instrument flight rules, under which operation of the aircraft primarily occurs through referencing the onboard instruments rather than through visual reference to the ground and environs.
Von Kármán constant
Von Kármán vortex street
Von Kármán wind turbulence model
vortex
vorticity

W[edit]

wall cloud
warm front
Warning Decision Training Branch (WDTB)
waterspout
weak echo region (WER)
weather
The state of the atmosphere at a given time and location. Weather is driven by a diverse set of naturally occurring phenomena, especially air pressure, temperature, and moisture differences between one place and another, most of which occur in the troposphere.
weather balloon
weather bomb
weather forecasting
weather front
weather map
weather modification
Weather Prediction Center (WPC)
Weather Surveillance Radar (WSR)
1.  In the United States, WSR-1, WSR-57, WSR-74, WSR-88D.
2.  In Canada, Canadian weather radar network (WKR, CWMN).
weather reconnaissance
weather satellite
weather station
weather vane
Weatherwise
A photographically adorned general interest weather magazine that frequently publishes articles on tornadoes and other severe weather.
wet-bulb temperature
wet-bulb globe temperature
wet season
whirlwind
wildfire
willy-willy
wind
wind chill
wind direction
wind gradient
Wind gust
wind profiler
wind shear
wind speed
windstorm
windsock
winter
winter storm
winter waterspout
World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

X[edit]

X band
xerochore
xerophyte

Y[edit]

yellow wind
Younger Dryas

Z[edit]

Z-R relation
Zdr
zastrugi
See sastrugi.
zephyr
zonal flow
Zonda wind
zud

Also spelled dzud.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

  • "AMS Glossary". American Meteorological Society.