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CLIMATE

The average weather conditions for an area over a long period of time

CLIMATOLOGIST

A scientist that studies climates

EL NIÑO

occurs every 3-10 years when surface-water temperatures along the west coast of South America rise which changes global weather patterns

GENERAL CIRCULATION MODEL

used to simulate changes in a variable using climate data and computers

GLOBAL WARMING

The gradual increase in average global temperatures due to higher concentrations of gases such as carbon dioxide

ICE CORE

used to measure concentrations of gases and ice in meltwater and can give clues about atmospheric conditions from hundreds of thousands of years

LA NIÑA

a cool-water phase that also affects global weather patterns

MILANKOVITCH THEORY

a combination of factors dealing with Earth's orbital changes and how they can change the global climate

MONSOON

A seasonal wind that blow toward the land in summer and away from the land in winter

RAIN SHADOW

when an air mass encounters a mountain range and it rises, cools, and loses its moisture as precipitation creating a warm dry climate on the other side of the mountain

SPECIFIC HEAT

The quantity of heat required to raise a unit of mass of a substance by 1 K or 1oC

SUBTROPICAL HIGHS

exist between 20 - 30 degrees latitude in both hemispheres and the air sinks, warms, and dries

YEARLY TEMPERATURE RANGE

The difference between the highest and lowest monthly averages

TROPICAL ZONE

An area of warm temperatures from 23.5oN - 23.5oS latitude

TEMPERATE ZONE

An area of seasonal change from 23.5o - 66.5o N & S latitude

POLAR ZONE

A region of cold air from 66.5o - 90o N & S latitude

CURRENT

A horizontal movement of water in a well defined pattern

SURFACE CURRENT

A horizontal movement of ocean water that is caused by wind that occurs at or near the ocean's surface.

CORIOLIS EFFECT

The apparent curving of the path of a moving object from an otherwise straight path due to Earth's rotation.

GYRE

A huge circle of moving ocean water found above and below the equator.

GULF STREAM

The swift, deep, and warm Atlantic current that flows along the eastern coast of the United States toward the North.

DEEP CURRENT

A slow moving stream-like movement of cold and dense ocean water far below the surface.

BOUNDARY CURRENT

Ocean currents that are affected by the presence of a coastline.

RIP CURRENT

A strong channel of water flowing from the coast toward the ocean.

THERMOHALINE CIRCULATION

The large scale ocean circulation that is driven by density differences created by the heating of surface water.

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