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Our comprehensive glossary is available to assist in your understanding of the S'COOL lesson plan vocabulary words. Please select the first letter of the word you wish to check for a definition and further information.

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All definitions

Weather word translations
to reach a mathematical conclusion.  
carbon emissions:
carbon substances that are released into the atmosphere due to human activities. These substances are pollutants.  
carbon footprint:
A visual representation of the effects of your lifestyle on the environment. It literally is the impact of human actions or lifestyles on the environment, in terms of greenhouse gas emissions measured in units of carbon dioxide..  
1. an air mass that contains both up and down drafts, however it acts as one large object and is the smallest part of the storm creation process. 2. a box defined by a lettered column and a numbered row, for example, B2. This is where text and number values are entered into a spreadsheet.  
A scale for the measurement of temperature named after Anders Celsius, a Swedish astronomer, who invented it. Water freezes at 0 degrees C and boils at 100 degrees C.   Temperature conversion tool Fahrenheit, Celsius and Kelvin temperature scales
Image courtesy NASAexplores
A unit measuring distance or height. It is used as a unit for precipitable water in the LAS. This is the height of the layer of water that would exist if all the water vapor in the atmospheric column were condensed to liquid at the Earth's surface..  
The Clouds and the Earth'Radiant Energy System is one of the scientific satellite instruments developed for NASA's Earth Observing System (EOS)..   The CERES Web Site Reflected Solar Radiation for July 2000
Image courtesy CERES Science Team
clouds are high-altitude cloud, usually occurring at 16,000-40,000 feet. Like other cumulus clouds, cirrocumulus clouds signify convection. Unlike other cirrus clouds, cirrocumulus include liquid water droplets, although these are in a supercooled state. Ice crystals are also present, and typically, the ice crystals cause the supercooled water drops in the cloud to rapidly freeze, transforming the cirrocumulus into cirrostratus. This process can also produce precipitation in the form of a virga consisting of ice or snow. Thus cirrocumulus clouds are usually short-lived..   Cloud Classification Chart from the S'COOL Project large-celled cirrocumulus
Image courtesy Jeff Caplan, NASA Photographer in 1997.
thin, sheetlike high clouds that often cover the entire sky, but allow the Sun and Moon to shine through.   Cloud Classification Chart from the S'COOL Project
high feathery clouds that usually mean a change in weather is on the way.   Cloud Classification Chart from the S'COOL Project Wispy Cirrus
Image courtesy Lin Chambers, August, 2002
general weather patterns experienced in a place over a long period of time.   Climate Change
Climate Change:
Includes global warming and everything else that increasing greenhouse gas amounts will affect.   Global Warming vs. Climate Change
collections of water (in liquid or ice phase) in the atmosphere that are often classified by their shape and height..   Cloud Classification Chart from the S'COOL Project photo of cloud
Image courtesy NASA S'COOL Project
cloud coverage:
Cloud coverage, also called cloud fraction, or cloud cover, describes the amount of cloud in the sky. It can be measured as a percentage (0-100) or as a fraction (0-1.0).   Observing Cloud Cover
cloud fraction:
See cloud coverage.  
cloud opacity:
a parameter that characterizes the reduction of light or energy through a cloud due to interactions with its water, ice or particle content. See definition for optical depth.   Observing Cloud Visual Opacity
cloud temperature:
The cloud temperature is, as it sounds, the temperature of a cloud. However, what this means exactly depends on how the measurement is made. Most of the time we do not put a thermometer in the cloud, but instead determine this by remote sensing. And most clouds are not at a single temperature, but are generally colder at the top and warmer at the bottom. The temperature measured by remote sensing is often called a cloud effective temperature. It measures the temperature of the cloud mass within about 1 optical depth of the edge (where optical depth varies with wavelength, so that the measured temperature depends on the sensor being used, at least to some extent). Measurements made from orbit, then, will generally measure a lower temperature than those made from the ground (unless the cloud is thin).   Clouds in Infrared Imagery
cloud types:
typically a list of the various kinds of clouds. These cloud types are derived from a Latin root word. Each of the various names of the cloud types corresponds to what it looks like and its relative height in the atmosphere.   S'COOL Cloud Chart
cold front:
The boundary between a cold air mass and a warm air mass, in which the cold air mass pushes under the warmer air mass. A cold front tends to move through a region more quickly than a warm front, and is usually accompanied by colder weather.   tutorial on cold fronts Cloud wall associated with fast moving cold front
Image courtesy NOAA - cloud wall associated with fast moving cold front
This is a vertical feature that is used to describe an objects orientation. In an excel spreadsheet these are the up and down features with an alphabetical listing on the top of the page.  
concept mapping:
This is a visual representation of words that show their relationship to a central theme or event.   concept map example
the phase change of water from vapor to liquid by cooling, releasing latent heat energy to the atmosphere, or, when water changes from a gas state to a liquid state.  
condensation nuclei:
small particles or aerosols which water vapor attaches to begin the condensation process. Theses particles include but are not limited to dust particulates, sea salt, sulfur and other like particulates. As the temperature decreases to the condensation point, the water vapor in the atmosphere attaches to these particulates and begins the process of cloud formation..  
condensation trail; cloud formed due to the exhaust of jet aircraft.   GLOBE Contrail Education Web Site Image of persistent contrails, newer (left) to older (right)
Image courtesy Carol Clark, Oregon
the transfer of heat energy vertically through a medium. In the atmosphere, convection may be seen visibly by cloud formation and thunderstorm development.  
mathematical equations used to convert from one unit to another, such as with temperature. F=1.8C+32 and C=(F-32)x(5/9), these are equations are used to convert from one unit to the next.  
to mathematically change units of one measuring or calculating system into units of another.  
a type of cloud that is tall, dense, and associated with thunderstorms and other intense weather.  
a puffy white cloud often described as "puffy" or "cotton-like" in appearance, cumulus clouds may appear alone, in lines, or in clusters.   Fair Weather Cumulus
Image courtesy Photo by Lin Chambers, July 2003