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35 Cards in this Set

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General circulation of the atmosphere

Large-scale atmospheric motions over the entire earth

Hadley cell

A thermal circulation proposed by George ________ to explain the movement of trade winds. It consists of rising air near the equator and sinking air near the 30 degrees latitude


The region near the equator that is characterized by low pressure and light, shifting winds

Subtropical highs

A semipermanent high in the subtropical high-pressure belt centered near 30 degrees latitude. The Bermuda High is located over the Atlantic Ocean off the east coast of North America. The Pacific High is located off the west coast of North America

Horse latitudes

The belt of latitude at about 30 to 35 degrees where winds are predominantly light and the weather is hot and dry.

Trade winds

The winds that occupy most of the tropics and blow from the subtropical highs to the equatorial low.

Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ)

The boundary zone separating the northeast trade winds of the Northern Hemisphere from the southeast trade winds of the Southern Hemisphere


The dominant westerly winds that blow in the middle latitudes on the poleward side of the subtropical high-pressure

Polar front

A semipermanent, semicontinuous front that separates tropical air masses from polar air masses

Subpolar low

A belt of low pressure located between 50 and 70 degrees latitude. In the Northern Hemisphere, this "belt" consists of the Aleutian low in the North Pacific and the Icelandic low in the North Atlantic. In the Southern Hemisphere, it exists around the periphery of the Antarctic continent

Polar easterlies

A shallow body of easterly winds located at high latitudes poleward of the subpolar low

Semipermanent highs and lows

Areas of high pressure (anticyclones) and low pressure (extratropical cyclones) that tend to persist at a particular latitude belt throughout the year. In the Northern Hemisphere, typically they shift slightly northward in summer and slightly southward in winter

Icelandic low

The subpolar low-pressure area that is centered near Iceland on charts that show mean sea-level pressure

Aleutian low

The subpolar low-pressure area that is centered near the Aleutian Islands on charts that show mean sea-level pressure

Siberian high

A strong, shallow area of high pressure that fos over Siberia in winter

Jet streams

Relatively strong winds concentrated within a narrow band in the atmosphere

Subtropical jet stream

The jet stream typically found between 20 and 30 degrees latitude and altitudes between 12 and 14 km.

Polar jet stream

The jet stream that is associated with the polar front in middle and high latitudes. It is usually located at altitudes between 9 and 12 km

Low level jet stream

Jet streams that typically form near the earth's surface below an altitude of about 2 km and usually attain speeds of less than 70 mi/hr

Wind shear

The rate of change of wind speed or wind direction, or both, over a given distance


Any irregular or disturbed flow in the atmosphere tat produces gusts and eddies

Monsoon wind system

A wind system that reverses direction between winter and summer. Usually the wind blows from land to sea in winter and from sea to land in summer

Sea breeze

A coastal local wind that blows from the ocean onto land. The leading edge of the breeze is termed a ___________ front

Lake breeze

A wind blowing onshore from the surface of a lake

Land breeze

A coastal breeze that blows from land to sea usually at night

Valley/mountain breeze

A local wind system of a mountain valley that blows downhill (mountain breeze) at night and uphill (valley breeze) during the day

Katabatic wind

Any wind blowing downslope. It is usually cold

Chinook wind

A warm, dry wind on the eastern side of the Rockies that signifies the approach of a chinook

Santa Ana wind

A warm, dry wind that blows into southern California from the east off the elevated desert plateau. Its warmth is derived from compressional healing

Texas norther (blue norther)

A strong, cold wind from between the northeast and northwest associated with a cold outbreak of polar or arctic air that brings a sudden drop in temperature.


A weather condition characterized by strong winds and dust-filled air extending over a large area


A dust or sandstorm that forms as cold downdraft from a thunderstorm turbulently lift dust and sand into the air

Black blizzards

A term that describes the type of dust storm that blocked out the sun during the dust bowl years of the 1930's on the Great Plains in the US

Dust devils (whirlwinds)

A small but rapidly rotating wind made visible by that dust, sand and debris it picks up from the surface. It develops best on clear, dry afternoons


A strong hot and very dry desert wind that blows over north Africa and the Middle East