1. Adiabatic (lapse rate)
    The way temperature changes with altitude in rising or falling air.
  2. Aerosol
    A tiny liquid droplet or tiny solid particle so small it remains suspended in the air.
  3. Air
    The invisible, odorless mixture of gases and suspended particles that surrounds the earth.
  4. Air Pressure
    The force exerted by the weight of overlying air.
  5. Atmosphere
    The mixture of gases, predominantly nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water vapor that surrounds the Earth.
  6. Cirrus Clouds
    Fine, wispy or feathery clouds formed high in the troposphere, and composed entirely of ice crystals.
  7. Clouds
    Visible aggregations of minute water droplets, tiny ice crystals, or both.
  8. Condensation
    The formation of a more ordered liquid from a less ordered gas.
  9. Cumulus Clouds
    Puffy, globular, individual clouds that form when hot, humid air rises convectively and reaches a level of condensation.
  10. Dew Point
    The temperature at which the relative humidity reaches 100 percent and condensation starts.
  11. Evaporation
    The process by which a liquid is converted to its vapor.
  12. Humidity
    The amount of water vapor in the air.
  13. Mesosphere
    One of the four thermal layers of the atmosphere, lying above the stratosphere.
  14. Pause
    The boundaries that separate the four principal thermal layers of he atmosphere.
  15. Percipitation
    The process by which condensed water gathers into droplets or particles and falls under the pull of gravity.
  16. Stratosphere
    One of four thermal layers of the atmosphere, lying above the troposphere and reaching a maximum of about 50km.
  17. Stratus Clouds
    Uniform dull grey clouds with a cloud base less than two km above sea level.
  18. Thermosphere
    One of the four thermal layers of the atmosphere, reaching out to about 500km.
  19. Troposphere
    One of the four thermal layers of the atmosphere, which extends from the surface of the Earth to variable altitudes of 10 to 16 km.
  20. Air Mass
    Large volume of air with a fairly homogeneous internal temperature and humidity.
  21. Climate
    The average weather conditions of a place or area over a period of years.
  22. Convergence
    The coming together of air masses, caused by the inward spiral flow in a cyclone and leading to an upward flow of air at the center of the low pressure center.
  23. Cyclone
    Air spiral inward around a low-pressure center.
  24. Desert
    Arid land, whether "deserted" or not, in which annual rainfall is less that 250mm or in which he evaporation rate exceeds the precipitation rate.
  25. Divergence
    The separation of air masses in different directions, cause by the outward spiral flow in an anticyclone and leading to an outward flow of air from the center or a high-pressure center.
  26. Drought
    Below average rainfall in a region for an extended period of time.
  27. El Niño/Southern Oscillation (ENSO)
    A periodic climatic variation in which trade winds slacken and surface waters of the central and eastern Pacific become anomalously warm.
  28. Hurricane
    A tropical cyclonic storm with wind speeds that exceed 119km/hr.
  29. Isobar
    Places of equal air pressure.
  30. Pressure-Gradient Force
    The drop in air pressure per unit of distance.
  31. Thunderstorm
    Updrafts of warm, humid, air (a cell) that release a lot of latent heat very quickly and become unstable.
  32. Tornado
    Violent windstorm produced by a spiraling column of air that extends downward from a cumulonimbus cloud.
  33. Weather
    The state of the atmosphere at a given time and place
  34. Wind
    Horizontal air movement arising from differences in air pressure.
  35. Climate
    The average weather conditions of a place or area over a period of years.
  36. Climate forcing
    Causes that result in climate change.
  37. Climate Proxy Record
    Records of past natural events that are influenced by, and closely mimic, climate.
  38. Fractionation
    The separation and differential concentration of isotopes of slightly different masses.
  39. Glacial Period
    An interval of time when Earth's global ice cover greatly exceeded that of today.
  40. Interglacial Period
    A time in the past when both the climate and global ice cover were similar to those of today.
  41. Köppen System of Climate Classification
    A system using the distribution of native vegetation types, based on the premise that vegetation is the best indicator of climate.
  42. Little Ice Age
    The interval of generally cool climate between the middle thirteenth and middle nineteenth centuries
  43. Medieval Warm Period
    An episode of relatively mild climate during the Middle Ages.
  44. Milankovitch Cycles
    The combined influences of astronomical factors that produce changes in Earth's climate.
  45. Paleoclimate
    Climate of the ancient past.
  46. Biomass Energy
    Energy derived from plant life.
  47. Coal
    A black, combustible, sedimentary of metamorphic rock consisting chiefly of decomposed plant matter and containing more than 50 percent organic matter.
  48. Crude Oil
    Petroleum as it emerges from the ground.
  49. Evaporite Deposits
    Layers of salt that precipitate as a consequence of evaporation.
  50. Fission
    Controlled radioactive transformation.
  51. Fossil Fuels
    Remains of plants and animals trapped in sediment that may be used for fuel.
  52. Fusion
    The merging of the nuclei of lightweight chemical elements, particularly hydrogen  to form heavier elements such as helium and carbon.
  53. Geothermal Energy
    Heat energy drawn from the Earth's internal heat.
  54. Hydrocarbons
    Organic compounds that contain hydrogen and form carbon-hydrogen bonds.
  55. Hydroelectric Power
    Power captured from the kinetic energy of a flowing stream of water.
  56. Maturation
    The process by which organic matter is transformed into various forms of petroleum.
  57. Mineral Deposit
    Any volume of rock containing an enrichment of one or more minerals.
  58. Mining
    The set of processes by which useful resources are withdrawn from the stock of non-renewable resource.
  59. Natural Gas
    Naturally occurring hyrdo-carbon that is gaseous at ordinary temperature and pressure.
  60. New Renewables (energy sources)
    Alternative energy sources based on new and developing technologies.
  61. Nuclear Energy
    Energy released by the controlled breakdown of a large radioactive isotopes into two or more smaller isotopes.
  62. Oil
    The liquid form of petroleum.
  63. Oil Shale
    Fine-grained sedimentary rock containing much bituminous organic matter.
  64. Ore
    An aggregate of minerals from which one or more minerals can be extracted profitably.
  65. Petroleum
    Gaseous, liquid, and semi-solid substances occurring naturally and consisting chiefly of chemical compounds of carbon and hydrogen.
  66. Reserve
    The portion of a resource that has been identified and is economically extractable using current technologies.
  67. Solar Energy
    Power derived from electromagnetic energy radiated by the sun.
  68. Tar Sand
    Thick, dense, asphalt-like oil that cements sand grains together.
  69. Tidal Energy
    Power derived from the kinetic energy involved in the movement of water during the rise and fall of tides.
  70. Wave Energy
    Power drawn from the kinetic energy of waves.
  71. Wind Energy
    Power drawn from the kinetic energy of wind.
  72. Anthropogenic Greenhouse Effect
    Human contributions to the greenhouse effect.
  73. Chlorofluorocarbons
    Synthetic industrial gases that cause the breakdown of ozone in the stratosphere.
  74. Coral Bleaching
    Corals turning white due to sickness or death, as a result of stressful changes in their aquatic environment.
  75. Cumulative Effects
    The collective effects of local and regional environmental impacts eventually reaching global proportions.
  76. Desertification
    The invasion of desert into nondesert areas.
  77. General Circulation Models (GCMs)
    A mathematical model used to simulate present and past climate conditions on the Earth.
  78. Global Change
    The changes produced in the Earth system as a result of human activities.
  79. IPAT Equation
    A relationship that expresses  that human impact (I) on the environment as a function of population (P), consumption and waste generation (A), and technology (T).
  80. Ozone Hole
    A region centered above the poles in which the ozone content of the stratosphere has been severely reduced.
  81. Photochemical Smog
    Fog caused by the accumulation in the lower troposphere of ozone, nitrous oxides, and carbon bearing compounds.
  82. Precautionary Principle
    The concept that if the potential consequences of an anticipated event are unacceptable severe, those in authority have a responsibility to take action to avoid or mitigate those consequences.
Card Set
USU1360 Atmosphere Key Terms.