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Atmosphere and Weather Vocabulary

For the following words, you must 1. write the word, 2. rewrite (copy) the given definition 3. put the
definition into your own words or use it in a sentence that shows you know the meaning, and 4. draw a
picture for the word. You may use the sheets provided or you can create your own format. This will count
as 3 homework grades.

You will have a vocabulary quiz on all 3 lists on December 13th (A-Day) and 14th (B-Day) (Quiz grade).
You WILL NOT be able to use your lists on the vocab quiz.

List #1 - Due November 14th (A-Day) and 15th (B-Day):

1. Troposphere- the lowest layer of the atmosphere, extending from the Earths surface to
6-10 km high, within which there is a steady drop in temperature with increasing altitude,
cloud formation and weather occurs here.

2. Stratosphere - starts at top of troposphere to about 50 km, where most jets fly, ozone
layer is found near the 50km mark. The temperature increases with altitude because
ozone absorbs UV rays which warms the air

3. Ozone- a form of oxygen, O3; in the upper atmosphere, it absorbs ultraviolet rays,
thereby preventing them from reaching the surface of the earth. This is sandwiched
between the top of the Stratosphere and the bottom of the Mesosphere.

4. Mesosphere- 50-80 km above the earths surface, coldest layer of the atmosphere &
temperature decreases with altitude, meteors burn in this layer

5. Thermosphere- temperature increases with altitude, hottest layer (1000+ degrees F)

6. Ionosphere- is a shell of electrons and electrically charged atoms and molecules, Aurora
Borealis occurs here that is in the lower end of the Thermosphere

7. Exosphere- to of the atmosphere, satellites orbit here, the upper end of the
Thermosphere, blends into space

8. Convection- the movement caused within a fluid (like air) by warmer, less dense
material to rise, and colder, denser material to sink, resulting in heat transfer

9. UV (ultraviolet) rays- invisible rays that come from the sun, can burn skin, and cause
skin cancer

10. Radar (Doppler)- a radar tracking system using the Doppler effect to determine the
location and velocity of a storm, clouds, precipitation
List #2 - Due November 27th (A-Day) and 28th (B-Day):

1. Pressure gradient- The change in pressure measured across a given distance

2. Air pressure- the force exerted onto a surface by the weight of the air

3. Low pressure system- a whirling mass of warm, moist air that generally brings stormy
weather with strong winds. When viewed from above, winds spiral into a Low
Pressure center in a counterclockwise rotation in the Northern Hemisphere

4. High pressure system- a whirling mass of cool, dry air that generally brings fair weather
and light winds. When viewed from above, winds spiral out of a High Pressure center in
a clockwise rotation in the Northern Hemisphere. These bring sunny skies.

5. Air Mass- is a large volume of air in the atmosphere that is mostly uniform in temperature
and moisture.

6. Cold front- The forward edge of an advancing mass of cold air that pushes under a mass
of warm air. Cold fronts often cause heavy precipitation and/or thunderstorms.

7. Warm front- The forward edge of an advancing mass of warm air that rises over and
replaces a retreating mass of cooler air. Warm fronts often cause steady precipitation

8. Barometer- an instrument measuring atmospheric pressure

9. Jet stream- a narrow, variable band of very strong, predominantly westerly air currents
encircling the globe several miles above the earth.

10. Psychrometer- an instrument used to measure humidity Environmental Protection


Agency- an agency of the United States federal government whose mission is to protect
human and environmental health

11. Particulate matter- the sum of all solid and liquid particles suspended in air, many of
which are hazardous; examples include dust, pollen, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets

12. Smog- fog or haze combined with smoke and other atmospheric pollutants

13. Greenhouse effect- the warming of the Earth's surface and the air above it caused by
gases in the air that trap energy from the sun; the heat-trapping gases are called
greenhouse gases and the most common are water vapor, carbon dioxide, and methane
List #3 - Due December 7th (A-Day) and 8th (B-Day):

1. Thunderstorm- a storm with thunder and lightning and typically also heavy rain or hail

2. Hurricane- a violent, tropical, cyclonic storm of the western North Atlantic, having wind
speeds of or in excess of 72 miles per hour

3. Tornado- a localized, violently destructive windstorm occurring over land and


characterized by a long, funnel-shaped cloud extending toward the ground and made
visible by condensation and debris

4. Cirrus- Cloud type that appears feathery or wispy, curl of hair, form in very high
altitudes and made of ice crystals

5. Stratus - Cloud type that forms in flat layers when air cools over a large area, spread
out, tend to produce steady, light precipitation

6. Cumulus - Cloud type that appears as puffy masses and often look like cotton balls,
heap or pile, usually appear in the daytime in fair weather but if they keep growing
taller can produce rain showers and thunderstorms

7. Nimbus - Clouds that produce precipitation; example: stratonimbus or cumulonimbus

8. Wind vane- a device that measure wind direction

9. Coriolis (force) effect- The rotation of the Earth causes winds to deflect to the right in
the Northern Hemisphere and to the left in the Southern Hemisphere.

10. Acid rain- rainfall made acidic by atmospheric pollution; main cause is the industrial
burning of coal and other fossil fuels, which releases sulfur and nitrogen oxides, which
then combines with atmospheric water to form acids