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Weather Glossary

Discover the definition of commonly used weather terms.

Terms D-I

Derecho: Wind storms created by thunderstorms during which winds blow in straight lines.
Dew: Water droplets formed by condensation of water vapor.
Dew point: Measure of humidity given in terms of temperature at which dew will start to form.
Doppler radar: Radar that measures speed and direction of a moving object, such as wind.
Downburst: Wind blasting down from a thunderstorm or shower.
Dryline: A boundary between warm, dry air and warm, humid air along which thunderstorms form, often found on the southern Plains.
El Nino: Linked ocean and atmospheric events, which have world-wide effects, characterized by warming of water in the tropical Pacific from around the International Date Line to the coast of Peru.
Freezing rain: Supercooled raindrops that turn to ice when coming in contact with an object.
Front: Boundary between air masses of different densities, and usually different temperatures.
Frost: Water vapor turning to ice on an object.
Funnel cloud: A rotating column of air extending from a cloud, but not reaching the ground.
Glaze: A coat of smooth ice that is created when super cooled drops of water spread out before freezing.
Graupel: Form of ice created when supercooled water droplets coat a falling ice crystal.
Ground fog: A layer of fog, often less than 200 feet high, that forms when the ground cools.
Heat lightning: Glowing flash in clouds. No thunder is heard oftentimes because the lightning is too far away.
High: An area of high-atmospheric pressure, also called an anticyclone.
Ice pellets: Falling drops of frozen water, also called sleet. Inversion: Stable air condition in which air near the ground is cooler than air located at a higher altitude.

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