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Weather, Week5, Chapter 6 - Atmospheric Stability
Terms in this set (15)
absolutely stable atmosphere
An atmospheric condition that exists when the environmental lapse rate is less than the moist adiabatic rate. This results in a lifted parcel of air being colder than the air around it.
absolutely unstable atmosphere
An atmospheric condition that exists when the environmental lapse rate is greater than the dry adiabatic rate. This results in a lifted parcel of air being warmer than the air around it.
A process that takes place without a transfer of heat between the system (such as an air parcel) and its surroundings. In an adiabatic process, compression always results in warming, and expansion results in cooling.
Buoyant force (buoyancy)
The upward force exerted upon an air parcel (or any object) by virtue of the density (mainly temperature) difference between the parcel and that of the surrounding air.
The level above the surface marking the base of a cumuliform cloud.
conditionally unstable atmosphere
An atmospheric condition that exists when the environmental lapse rate is less than the dry adiabatic rate but greater than the moist adiabatic rate. Also called conditional instability.
dry adiabatic rate
The rate of change of temperature in a rising or descending unsaturated air parcel. The rate of adiabatic cooling or warming is about 10°C per 1000 m (5.5°F per 1000 ft ).
The mixing of environmental air into a preexisting air current or cloud so that the environmental air becomes part of the current or cloud.
environmental lapse rate
The rate of decrease of air temperature with elevation. It is most often measured with a radiosonde.
moist adiabatic rate
The rate of change of temperature in a rising or descending saturated air parcel. The rate of cooling or warming varies but a common value of 6°C per 1000 m (3.3°F per 1000 ft ) is used.
An atmospheric condition that exists in dry air when the environmental lapse rate equals the dry adiabatic rate. In saturated air the environmental lapse rate equals the moist adiabatic rate.
The lifting of air over a topographic barrier. Clouds that form in this lifting process are called orographic clouds.
parcel of air
An imaginary small body of air a few meters wide that is used to explain the behavior of air.
The region on the leeside of a mountain where the precipitation is noticeably less than on the windward side.
A temperature inversion produced by compressional warming—the adiabatic warming of a layer of sinking air.
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