We possibly take weather forecasting for granted these days, but within the study of meteorology is a whole set of terminology that perhaps you weren’t aware of…well, at least until now. Here is a summary of some of the more quirky words that can used to describe the weather.
- Ball lightning A relatively rarely seen form of lightning, generally consisting of an orange or reddish ball of the order of a few cm to 30cm in diameter and of moderate luminosity, which may move up to 1 m/s horizontally with a lifetime of a second or two.
- Barber pole A thunderstorm updraft with a visual appearance including cloud striations that are curved in a manner similar to the stripes of a barber pole. The structure typically is most pronounced on the leading edge of the updraft, while drier air from the rear flank downdraft often erodes the clouds on the trailing side of the updraft.
- Bitterly cold In winter, bitterly cold or very cold, refers to more than seven degrees Celsius below normal. (So, descriptions are relative to your location, which might explain why Canadians laugh at us Australians when confronted with a ‘bitterly’ cold forecast whilst vacationing in Melbourne. You can easily spot them, they are walking around in shorts, whilst the locals are rugged up in scarves and black coats).
- Broken clouds Clouds which cover between 5/8ths and 7/8ths of the sky.
- Heat index An index that combines air temperature and humidity to give an apparent temperature (how hot it feels).
- Hot spot Typically large areas of pavement, these “hot spots” are heated much quicker by the sun than surrounding grasses and forests. As a result, air rises upwards from the relatively hot surface of the pavement, reaches its condensation level, condenses, and forms a cloud above the “hot spot”.
- Iridescence Brilliant patches of green or pink sometimes seen near the edges of high or medium level clouds.
- Katabatic Wind blowing down an incline, such as down a hillside; downslope wind.
- Mushroom A thunderstorm with a well-defined anvil rollover, and thus having a visual appearance resembling a mushroom.
- Yellow wind A strong, cold, dry west wind of eastern Asia that blows across the plains during winter and carries a yellow dust from the desert.
- Sunny Sunny or a few clouds means that less than half the sky has clouds.
I had to stop myself and limit it to eleven, but if you want to read the entire list, then click on over here.
The most beautiful weather I’ve ever experienced was whilst sun baking on the amazing Whitsunday island – The perfect sunny day (zero cloud)… probably the environment had a little bit to do with it.
What is the most amazing weather you’ve experienced?