1. ozone – a molecule of oxygen with three oxygen atoms (O3)
2. troposphere – from Earth’s surface up to about 12km; temperature decreases as you go higher;
layer where most weather events occur
3. stratosphere – about 12km to 50km above Earth’s surface; temperature increases as you go
higher (due to ozone layer); ozone layer is found here
4. mesosphere – about 50km to 85km above Earth’s surface; temperature decreases as you go
5. thermosphere – about 85km to 100km above Earth’s surface; temperature increases as you go
higher (due to solar radiation)
6. heat – thermal energy transferred from one object to another
7. temperature – measure of the average kinetic energy of individual atoms or molecules in a
8. greenhouse effect – heating of Earth’s surface & atmosphere from absorption of solar radiation
mostly from water vapor and carbon dioxide (CO2)
9. albedo – amount of solar radiation reflected off of a surface
10. isotherm – a line connecting points of equal temperature
11. precipitation – any form of water that falls from a cloud
12. evaporation – the change of state from a liquid to a gas
13. condensation – the change of state from a gas to a liquid
14. latent heat – energy absorbed or released during a change in state
15. humidity – water vapor in the air
16. saturated – air that contains the maximum amount of water vapor that it can hold at any
given temperature and pressure
17. relative humidity – ratio of the actual amount of water vapor in a parcel of air compared to
the amount of water vapor it can actually hold
18. dew point – temperature to which air has to be cooled in order to reach saturation
19. orographic lifting – pushing up of air by elevated terrain (such as mountains)
20. front – the boundary between two adjoining air masses having contrasting characteristics
21. temperature inversion – a thin layer in the atmosphere where temperature increases
instead of decreases with height
22. condensation nuclei – tiny bits of material (such as dust) that serve as surfaces on which
water vapor condenses
23. Words from Unit 1: convection, conduction, radiation
1. air pressure – the force exerted by the weight of a column of air above a given point
2. pressure gradient – amount of pressure change occurring over a given distance
3. Coriolis Effect – apparent deflective force of Earth’s rotation on all free-moving objects,
including the atmosphere and oceans; to the right in the Northern Hemisphere
4. jet stream – fast (120-240 km/hr), high altitude winds
5. cyclones – low-pressure center characterized by a counterclockwise flow of air in the Northern
6. anticyclones – high-pressure center characterized by a clockwise flow of air in the Northern
7. trade winds – winds that blow almost constantly to the East; found between the Equator and
30o North and South
8. westerlies – winds that blow mostly from the West; found between 30o and 60o North and
9. prevailing wind – a wind that consistently blows from one direction more than from another
10. monsoons – seasonal reversal of wind direction associated with large continents, especially
Asia; winter = wind from land to sea,
summer = wind from sea to land
1. air mass – a large body of air that is characterized by similar temperature and humidity at any
given altitude
2. warm front – a front where a warm air mass overrides a retreating mass of cooler air
3. cold front – a front where a cold air mass pushes under a warmer air mass
4. stationary front – a front where neither air mass overtakes the other
5. occluded front – a front where a cold front overtakes a warm front
6. thunderstorm – a storm produced by a cumulonimbus cloud; always has thunder and
7. tornado – small, very intense cyclonic storm with extremely high winds; usually form along
cold fronts with severe thunderstorms
8. hurricane – a tropical cyclonic storm having winds greater than 119 km/hr; usually form over
warm tropical waters in the mid to late summer in the Northern Hemisphere
9. storm surge – abnormal rise of the sea along a shore as a result of strong winds
10. global warming – an increase in the average temperatures of Earth and the atmosphere due
in part to increased CO2 levels
11. weather – the state of the atmosphere at any given time and place
12. climate – observations of weather collected over many years that help describe a place or