climatology and meteorology

approximate thawing index

the cumulative number of degree-days above 0 degrees Celsius for a given time period, calculated from the mean monthly temperatures for a specific station without making corrections for negative degree-days in spring and fall.

approximate freezing index

the cumulative number of degree-days below 0 degrees Celsius for a given time period, calculated from the mean monthly temperatures for a specific station without making corrections for positive degree-days in spring and fall.

anti-icing

the prevention of ice accumulation of aircraft, ships and other objects; the most common measures are heating or applying a dressing by brush or spray to weaken adhesion and facilitate removal.

antarctic zone

the region between the antarctic circle (66° 34′ S) and the South Pole; climatically, the limit of the zone may be set at about 60° S, poleward of which the prevailing westerly winds give place to easterly or variable winds; over most of this region the average temperature does not rise above 0°C (32°F) even in summer.

antarctic polar front

also known as the antarctic convergence; the southern front of the antarctic circumpolar current that separates the antarctic zone in the south from the polar frontal zone in the north; taken by many to delineate the actual northern boundary of the antarctic zone; characterized by sea surface temperatures near 5°–6° C and a salinity minimum of 33.8–34.0 psu produced by high rainfall.

antarctic circle

the line of latitude 66° 34′ S (often taken as 66.5° S); along this line the sun does not set on the day of the summer solstice, and does not rise on the day of the winter solstice.

analysis

in synoptic meteorology, a detailed study of the state of the atmosphere over a particular region based on the actual observations.

altostratus

a principal middle level cloud type (cloud genus) in the form of a grayish (gray) or bluish cloud sheet or layer of striated, fibrous, or uniform appearance, totally or partly covering the sky; the layer has parts thin enough to reveal the position of the sun; halo phenomena do not usually occur.

altocumulus

a principal middle level cloud type (cloud genus), white or gray, or both white and gray, which occurs as a layer or patch with a wave aspect, the elements of which appear as laminae, rounded masses, rolls, etc; these elements usually are sharply outlined, but they may become partly fibrous or diffuse; they may or may not be merged, and they generally have shadowed parts; most of the regularly arranged altocumulus elements have an apparent width of 1 - 5 degrees.

Aleution low

the low pressure center located near the Aleutian Islands on mean charts of sea level pressure during the winter; it represents one of the main centers of action in the atmospheric circulation of the northern hemisphere.

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