Weather Vocabulary Study Guide

Updated on Jul 15, 2011

Practice exercises for this study guide can be found at:

Weather Vocabulary Practice Exercises

Weather terms come in handy when you're tuning in to the local forecast. It'll be much easier to understand what the meteorologist says once you've learned the jargon. How the forecasts are made will be less mysterious as well, since you will have some inside knowledge of the equipment used by weather forecasters.

Some of these words, as in other lessons, have specific meanings to the field, as well as more generic ones people use in everyday conversation. These will be pointed out as we check into the weather report.


  • advection   the horizontal flow of air
  • anemometer   an instrument that measures wind force/speed and direction
  • atmosphere   the air or climate in any given place

[Clearly this one occurs outside of meteorology. It can also indicate the mood or tone of a place, such as "The home had a friendly atmosphere, making everyone feel welcome."]

  • barometer   an instrument that measures air pressure
  • Celsius   the metric temperature scale with freezing at 0 and boiling at 100 degrees; named after the Swedish astronomer who developed it
  • climatology   the study of the typical weather in a region, over a period of time
  • condensation   water droplets; the process by which water vapor in the air liquefies to create fog, clouds, and rain, or solidifies into snow, sleet, or hail

[In the non-weather world, this word indicates making something shorter or more compact, like versions of books or cans of orange juice or soup.]

  • conduction   the transfer or transmission of energy, such as heat or electricity, through a conductor
  • divergence   the movement of air currents

[Outside of meteorology, the word also means a difference or disparity between two or more things or a failure to conform.]

  • doldrums   stagnation; a part of the ocean near the equator subject to squalls, light variable winds, and calm

[This is also considered a gloomy or depressed mood, as in "I'm in the doldrums today."]

  • evaporation   a process through which something is changed from a liquid to a gas or vapor without its temperature reaching the boiling point
  • Fahrenheit   the nonmetric temperature scale on which water freezes at 32 degrees and boils at 212 degrees
  • global warming   an increase in the world's temperature that causes changes in climates and may be a result of the greenhouse effect, among other factors
  • inversion   when the temperature rises with increased elevation instead of falling
  • isotherm   a line drawn on a weather map that shows or connects places that have the same temperature
  • macroburst   a large downdraft of air, often accompanied by damaging winds
  • ozone   pure air; a form of oxygen
  • permafrost   permanently frozen land, primarily in polar regions
  • precipitation   rain, snow, sleet, or hail formed by condensation of moisture in the air; often expressed as the amount of precipitation that falls at a given place within a given period
  • trough   an area of low pressure or sunken area

Practice exercises for this study guide can be found at:

Weather Vocabulary Practice Exercises

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