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Weather Terms From Everyday to Unusual

Weather has a lot of terms. Some weather terms are common, such as rain, wind, or temperature, but others like chinook are more unique. Explore all the different types of weather terms from the most common to the truly unique.

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Common Weather Terms

When you want the weather on TV, the meteorologist might spout off a bunch of common terms like high pressure or humidity. Find out what each different weather term means and how it is used.  

  • autumn - the season between summer and winter characterized by falling temperatures

  • barometer - instrument used in weather to measure the pressure in the atmosphere

  • barometric pressure - the pressure found in the atmosphere, measured with a barometer

  • climate - the average weather found in a specific area over a long period of time

  • climate change - global changes in weather patterns 

  • cold front - front of cold air coming in and replacing warm air

  • current - movement of air, wind, or water

  • dew point - temperature where water condenses and forms dew

  • evaporation - when water turns to vapor

  • forecast - weather predictions

  • frost - ice crystals forming on the ground

  • global warming - gradual increase of earth temperature due to pollutants

  • heat lightning - lightning from a distant thunderstorm on a warm night

  • high pressure - above average temperature of the air

  • humidity - the measured amount of water vapor in the air

  • meteorology - the study of the atmosphere and weather

  • muggy - when there is excessive humidity in the air

  • overcast - when clouds cover the sun or fill the sky

  • precipitation - any weather condition where moisture is falling from sky

  • rain - droplets of water falling to the ground 

  • spring - season between winter and summer characterized by increasing temperatures

  • summer - season with warm temperatures

  • temperature - the amount or intensity of heat in the air

  • water cycle - the movement of water from the ground the atmosphere and back

  • weather - the atmosphere state including temperature, precipitation, humidity, and atmospheric pressure

  • wind - the movement of the air across the earth caused by the uneven heating of the earth

  • winter - the season between autumn and spring characterized by colder temperatures

Severe Weather Terms

Weather can get severe. Not only are their snowstorms and tornadoes but a plethora of other severe weather terms to have in your vocabulary. Explore these severe weather terms and meanings. 

  • black ice - transparent coat of ice covering pavement

  • blizzard - snow storm characterized by high winds and heavy snowfall

  • cyclone - a rotating spiral of air 

  • drought - weather period characterized by uncharacteristically low rainfall

  • dust devil - small air vortex or cyclone common in hot dry areas

  • eye - small calm area in the center of a storm

  • flash flood - sudden rising water levels

  • flood - water overflow in areas 

  • fog - thick air full of water droplets and clouds near the ground that hinders visibility

  • hail - frozen rain pellets that can reach the size of golf balls

  • heat wave - abnormal prolonged period of high heat

  • hurricane - large, violent circular storm over water in the North Atlantic and East Pacific Oceans 

  • ice storm - winter storm causing a thick coating of ice

  • monsoon - wind carrying heavy rain to areas of Asia

  • mudslide - earth mass falling down a slope

  • sleet - mix of snow and rain

  • snow - crystals of ice falling to the earth

  • thunderstorms - violent atmospheric disturbances with thunder, lightning, and precipitation

  • tornado - destructive cyclone storm on land with a funnel shaped cloud

  • typhoon - large, tropical storm over water happening in West Pacific and Indian oceans

  • tsunami - large, dangerous wave caused by storms or earthquakes

Unique Weather Terms

The weather is full of anomalies. Not only are their weird weather patterns, but just fun unique terms you don’t hear often. Get the meanings of some fun, unique weather terms. 

  • anomaly - conditions that deviate from normal

  • aurora - natural phenomenon where multicolored lights appear in sky

  • ball lightning - rare lightning in the shape of a ball moving across the sky

  • Beaufort Wind Scale - scale to measure wind speed

  • chinook - dry warm wind blowing down Rocky Mountains

  • Coriolis force - force that deflects air currents to right or left depending on hemisphere

  • Doldrums - region with unpredictable winds and sudden storms near equator in Atlantic Ocean

  • eclipse - when one celestial body like the moon moves in front of another like the sun blocking out light

  • El Nino - abnormal pattern of weather from the warming of Pacific Ocean close to the equator creating more clouds and rain

  • evapotranspiration - when water evaporates from land and goes into the atmosphere

  • gradient wind - horizontal wind blowing at constant speed above 2,500 feet

  • La Nina - abnormal weather pattern caused by cooling of ocean 

  • rain shadow - area with little rain due to winds from hill range

  • ridge - elongated high-pressure area

  • Southern Oscillation - cyclic atmospheric pressure over Pacific and Indian oceans linked to La Nina and El Nino

  • tropical air mass - air masses over warm tropical water that transport warm air to U.S.

  • trough - elongated low-pressure area

Understanding Weather Terminology

Weather is happening all around us, all the time. However, you aren’t always sure what type of weather it is. Now, you do! Keep your meteorology terminology going by looking at types of weather conditions.

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