climatology and meteorology

Alberta low

a low centered on the eastern slope of the Canadian Rockies in the province of Alberta, Canada.

albedo

a non-dimensional, unitless quantity that measures how well a surface reflects solar energy; ranges from 0 - 1; a value of 0 means the surface is a “perfect absorber,” where all incoming energy is absorbed, a value of 1 means the surface is a “perfect reflector,” where all incoming energy is reflected and none is absorbed.

advection fog

fog which forms in the lower part of a warm moist air mass moving over a colder surface (land or water).

aerosol

non-gaseous substances, divided into solid particles or liquid droplets, held in suspension in the atmosphere.

air mass

an extensive body of the atmosphere in which physical properties, particularly temperature and humidity, exhibit only small and continuous differences in the horizontal plane; it may extend over an area of several million square kilometers and over a height of several kilometers.

air temperature

the ambient temperature indicated by a thermometer exposed to the air but sheltered from direct solar radiation, or placed in an instrument shelter 1.5 to two meters above ground; also called surface temperature.

advection

the horizontal transfer of air mass properties by the velocity field of the atmosphere.

acid precipitation

rain or snow containing acidic substances, resulting from the atmospheric pollution mainly with sulfur and nitrogen; acid precipitation has a lower pH than unpolluted rain.

accuracy

the extent to which the readings of an instrument approach the true value of the calculated or measured quantities, supposing that all possible corrections are applied.

accretion

growth of a cloud or precipitation particle by the collision and union of a frozen particle (ice crystal or snowflake) with a super-cooled liquid droplet which freezes on impact.

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