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33 terms

Unit 8: Weather Factors Vocabulary

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electromagnetic waves
waves that transfer electric and magnetic energy through the vacuum of space
radiation
the direct transfer of energy by electromagnetic waves
infrared radiation
electromagnetic waves with wavelengths that are longer than visible light but shorter than microwaves
ultraviolet radiation
electromagnetic waves with wavelengths that are shorter than visible light but no longer than x-rays
greenhouse effect
the process by which heat is trapped in the atmosphere by gases that form a "blanket" around Earth
heat
the transfer of thermal energy from one object to another because of a difference in temperature
thermal energy
the total energy of motion in the particles of a substance
temperature
a measure of how hot or cold an object is compared to a reference point
conduction
the direct transfer of thermal energy from one substance to another that is touching
convection
the transfer of thermal energy by the movement of a fluid
convection currents
the circulation of a fluid as it alternately heats up and cools down
wind
the horizontal movement of air from an area of high pressure to an area of lower pressure
anemometer
an instrument used to measure wind speed
wind-chill factor
a measure of cooling combining temperature and wind speed
local winds
winds that blow over short distances
sea breeze
the flow of cooler air from over an ocean or lake toward land
land breeze
the flow of air from land to a body of water
global wind
winds that blow steadily from specific directions over long distances
coriolis effect
the change that Earth's rotation causes in that motion of objects and that explains how winds curve
water cycle
the continuel movement of water among earth's atmosphere, oceans, and land surface through evaporation, condensation, and precipitation
evaporation
the process by which water molecules in liquid water escape that air as water vapor
humidity
the amount of water vapor in a given volume of air
relative humidity
the percentage of water vapor in the air compared to the maximum amount of water vapor that the air can contain at a particular temperature
psychrometer
an instrument used to measure relative humidity
condensation
the process by which molecules of water vapor in air become liquid water
dew point
temperature at which condensation begins
cirrus
wispy, feathery clouds made of ice crystals that form at high levels
cumulus
fluffy, white clouds, usually with flat bottoms, that look like rounded piles of cotton
stratus
clouds that form in flat layers and often cover much of the sky
precipitation
any form of water that falls from clouds and reaches Earth's surface
drought
long periods of low precipitation
rain gauge
an instrument used to measure precipitation
scattering
reflection of light in all directions