Meteorology or Weather Terms +

(topics about the study of the complex motions and interactions of the atmosphere, including the observation of phenomena; such as, temperature, density, winds, clouds, and precipitation)

Intermittent precipitation that can be heavy or light and can fall as snow or rain.
sirocco wind
1. A hot humid south or southeast wind of southern Italy, Sicily, and the Mediterranean islands, originating in the Sahara Desert as a dry dusty wind but becoming moist as it passes over the Mediterranean.
2. A hot or warm southerly wind, especially one moving toward a low barometric pressure center.
3. The air comes from the Sahara (as a desert wind) and although it is dry and dusty, the term is not used in North Africa, where it is called chom, "hot" or arifi, "thirsty".

In crossing the Mediterranean the sirocco picks up a great deal of moisture because of its high temperature, and reaches Malta, Sicily, and southern Italy as a very enervating, hot, humid wind.

As it travels northward, it causes fog and rain. There are a number of local variants of the spelling such as xaroco (Portuguese), jaloque or xaloque (Spanish), xaloc or xaloch (Catalonian).

—Number three was compiled from excerpts located in the Glossary of Meteorology.
4. Etymology: "hot wind blowing from the Libyan deserts" from the 1610's, from Italian sirocco, from common Arabic shoruq, "the east wind", from Arabic sharqi, "eastern, east wind", from sharq, "east", from sharaqa, "to rise" (in reference to the sun).
A type of frozen precipitation composed of white translucent ice crystals in a variety of complex hexagonal forms.

Snow has rarely been as varied as it has been at the Vancouver Winter Olympics

To those who are observers of the Winter Olympics in Canada, 2010, the white stuff seen is snow and nothing more than snow; however, for the participants who are in the business of winning medals, snow is as varied as waves are to sailors or nails are to carpenters.

A ski technician and winter participants described snow as being:

  • coarse
  • fine
  • dirty
  • clean
  • sloppy
  • hard
  • balled
  • icy
  • sharp
  • kind of like fresh snow
  • dull
  • from full winter snow at the top, which is really bright and clear and clean, and then down on the bottom, it's that old dirty, marbly snow
  • powder
  • crust
  • slush
  • crud
  • chalky
  • chunky
  • graupel or Styrofoam (like frozen beads of Styrofoam)
  • sloppy
  • corduroy (grooved pattern left on snow by grooming machines)
  • red snow, which falls in the Alps and is tinted by red desert dust from Africa
  • balled (snow that is like an old snow that has a round formation to it, so when it is picked up, it looks like little balls
  • marbly, when those balls collect together and become big chunks
  • béton, French for "concrete" which refers to a hard, icy course
  • gros sel, another French word which refers to snow crystals the size of cooking salt
  • savonneuse, or French for soapy and is used when snow gleams as if it's just been washed
  • agressive snow, so cold that skis can't run smoothly over it
  • salted, which is wet snow that has been seeded with salt or chemicals to make it firmer
  • sugary, which is a spring snow with big crystals
  • grippy, where the skier gets more feedback from the skies
—Compiled from
"Powder, crust, slush or crud, there's more to snow than snow"by Christopher Clarey;
in the International Herald Tribune; February 27-28, 2010; page 8.
snow crystal
One of several types of ice crystals found in snow.

A snow crystal is an individual ice crystal whereas a snowflake is usually an aggregate of many single crystals.

snow squalll
Short, intense snow showers accompanied by strong, gusty winds.

Short-term snow accumulations may be significant and visibility greatly reduced. Snow squalls are common along the shores of the Great Lakes and other large lakes.

In general, any area where topographical influences favor increased accumulation of snow over the surrounding region.

Usually refers to the areas around large lakes; such as, the Great Lakes where lake-effect snows produce significantly enhanced winter accumulations.

An intense convectively generated snow squall with large accumulations of snow at a rate of 2.5 to 7.5 cm per hour (1 to 3 inches per hour).

A snowburst may be accompanied by thunder and lightning and such storms are called thundersnows.

A single ice crystal or an aggregate of ice crystals falling from a cloud.
storm surge
An abnormal and rapid rise in ocean levels along a coast, caused by strong winds.
storm tracks
The path that a storm takes.

The term is usually used with hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, and other major storms.

stratocumulus clouds
Low, lumpy cloud layers with patches of blue sky between the cloud elements.
The layer where atmospheric gases become much thinner and is located between about 7 to 30 miles (11 to 48 kilometers) above the earth's surface.
stratus clouds
Latin for "layer"; they are layers or banks of clouds wider than they are thick.

Such clouds are formed by widespread uplifts of air and tend to be gray and cover most of the sky. They are often accompanied by mist and drizzles.

Phase changes from water vapor to ice or ice to water vapor, without going through the liquid phase.
A measurement of average kinetic energy, or heat.

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