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precipitation 1

1. any form of water that falls from a cloud

precipitation 2

2. example - rain, sleet, and hail

water 1

1. can change from one state of matter to another at the temperatures and pressures experienced at Earth's surface

water 2

2. the processing of changing state requires that energy is transferred in the form of heat

water vapor 1

1. makes up 0 - 40% of atmospheric gases

water vapor 2

2. most important gas for understanding atmospheric processes

water vapor 3

3. the source of all condensation and precipitation

latent heat

refers to the energy that is stored or released during a change of state of water


the process of converting a liquid to a gas


the change of state from a gas to a liquid


the conversion of a solid directly to a gas, without passing through the liquid state


the process by which water vapor changes directly to a solid


term for the amount of water vapor in the air

saturated 1

1. air that has reached its water-vapor capacity

saturated 2

2. warm, saturated air contains more water vapor than cold air

saturated 3

3. warm air is capable of holding more water vapor than cold air

relative humidity 1

1. the ratio of air's water-vapor content to its capacity to hold water vapor at the same temperature

relative humidity 2

2. indicates how near the air is saturated

relative humidity 3

3. when 2 temperatures read nearly the same on a psychrometer, the air will have a high relative humidity

relative humidity 4

4. if the water-vapor content of air remains constant, lowering air temperature will cause an increase in relative humidity

relative humidity 5

5. if the water-vapor content of air remains constant, raising air temperature will cause a decrease in relative humidity

dew point

the temperature to which air would have to be cooled to reach saturation


type of temperature change air experiences when the air expands or contracts

dry adiabatic state 1

1. the rate of cooling or heating that applies only to unsaturated air

dry adiabatic state 2

2. rate is 10 degrees Celsius/1000 meters

wet adiabatic state

rate of cooling is less than the dry rate because of the release of latent heat

compressed air

molecules move faster and air temperature rises

processes that lift air

orographic lifting, frontal wedging, convergence, localized convective lifting

orographic lifting

occurs when elevated terrains act as barriers to air flow; associated with mountains

frontal wedging

process by which cool air acts as a barrier over which warmer, less dense air rises


rising parcels of warm air; clothing put on in the winter to keep warm

stable air

tends to resist rising (remains in its original position)

unstable air

tends to rise

condensation nuclei 1

1. abundant in the lower atmosphere

condensation nuclei 2

2. Example - dust, smoke, salt particles


produces dew, fog, and clouds


classified on the basis of their form and height


consists of globular cloud masses with a cauliflower structure


described as sheets or layers that cover much or all of the sky


term that means "rainy cloud"


term used to describe clouds of middle heights


a low cloud that blankets the sky and often generates precipitation


cloud type confined to the middle height range


clouds often associated with thunder and lightning and hail

fog 1

1. a cloud with its base at or very near the ground

fog 2

2. conditions that favor its formation are cool, clear, calm nights

fog 3

3. are at lower altitudes than clouds


for it to form, cloud droplets must grow in volume by 1 million times

Bergeron process

process in which freezing nuclei play a role in forming precipitation

sleet 1

1. type of precipitation that consists of small clear-to-translucent ice particles

sleet 2

2. likely to occur when a layer of air with temperatures above freezing overlies a subfreezing layer near the ground

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