climatology and meteorology

clear sky

sky with a total cloud cover of less than one okta (or one-tenth in the united states).


a principal high-level cloud type (cloud genus), appearing as detached clouds in the form of white, delicate filaments or white or mostly white patches or narrow bands; these clouds have a fibrous (hair-like) appearance, or a silky sheen, or both; because cirrus elements are too narrow, they do not produce a complete circular halo.


a principal high-level cloud type (cloud genus), appearing as a transparent, whitish cloud veil of fibrous (hair-like) or smooth appearance, totally or partially covering the sky, and often producing halo phenomena, either partial or complete.


a principal high-level cloud type (cloud genus), appearing as a thin, white patch or layer of cloud without shading, composed of very small elements in the form of grains, ripples, etc., merged or separated, and more or less regularly arranged; most of the elements have an apparent width of less than 1 degree.

circumpolar vortex

the large-scale cyclonic circulation in the middle and upper troposphere centered generally in the polar region; also called polar vortex.

buoy weather station

a buoy, either fixed or floating, which carries instruments for sensing various meteorological elements and for transmitting the data by radio.


winds of at least 35 miles per hour along with considerable falling and/or blowing snow reducing visibility to less than one-quarter mile for a period of at least three hours (extremely cold temperatures are often associated with dangerous blizzard conditions, but are not a formal part of the modern definition).

climate change

a study dealing with variations in climate on many different time scales from decades to millions of years, and the possible causes of such variations; (1) in the most general sense, the term climate change encompasses all forms of climatic inconstancy (that is, any differences between long-term statistics of the meteorological elements calculated for different periods but relating to the same area) regardless of their statistical nature or physical causes; climate change may result from such factors as changes in solar activity, long-period changes in the earth's orbital elements (eccentricity, obliquity of the ecliptic, precession of equinoxes), natural internal processes of the climate system, or anthropogenic forcing (for example, increasing atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases) (2) the term climate change is often used in a more restricted sense, to denote a significant change (such as a change having important economic, environmental and social effects) in the mean values of a meteorological element (in particular temperature or amount of precipitation) in the course of a certain period of time, where the means are taken over periods of the order of a decade or longer.


a warm wind blowing down an incline; a kind of katabatic wind.

carbon sink

A reservoir of carbon dioxide that is increasing in size.


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