This post is dedicated to learning about the weather, the atmosphere, the climate, and weather forecasting based on my recent Civil Air Patrol Education material arriving.   My materials came with an activity book and key terms as well as a weather station.  I pulled other resources to make sure the kids had additional places they could go to learn more.  I also wanted to have a book and video list.  Those not participating in Civil Air Patrol can use the links provided to learn more.  I know there are more resources out there for learning about weather and weather forecasting.  The information listed is definitely a great start.

The following list of terms came directly from the Civil Air Patrol’s Aerospace Dimensions Module 3 Air Environment:

Advection – lateral transfer of heat.

Air mass – a huge body of air with the same temperature and moisture characteristics.

Atmospheric pressure – the weight of all of the atmosphere’s gases and molecules on the Earth’s surface.

Autumnal (fall) Equinox – usually on September 22nd or 23rd; the time when the sun’s direct rays strike the equator resulting in the equal length of day and night.

Beaufort Scale – a scale for estimating wind speed on land or sea.

Condensation – the process of converting water vapor to liquid.

Conduction – heating by direct contact.

Convection – heat transfer by vertical motion.

Coriolis Force – winds associated with the Earth’s rotation that deflect a freely-moving object to the right in the Northern Hemisphere.

Dew point – the temperature at which the air becomes saturated with water vapor.

Doldrums – a global area of calm winds.

Fog – tiny droplets of liquid water at or near the surface of the land or water.

Front – a boundary between two air masses.

Global winds – the worldwide system of winds that transfers heat between tropical and polar regions.

Heat – the total energy of all molecules within a substance.

Humidity – the amount of water vapor in the air.

Hurricane – a tropical cyclone of low pressure and very strong winds; usually with heavy rain and possible thunderstorms and tornadoes.

Ionosphere – region of the atmosphere where electrons are gained or lost.

Jet stream – a strong wind that develops at 30,000 to 35,000 feet and moves as a winding road across the US, generally from west to east.

Lapse rate – the rate of decrease with an increase in height for pressure and temperature.

Mesosphere – a layer of the atmosphere extending from about 30 to 50 miles.

Microburst – a downdraft or downburst phenomenon that creates unstable air and thunderstorm turbulence.

Ozonosphere – a region of the atmosphere where ozone is created.

Precipitation – the general term given to various types of condensed water vapor.

Polar easterlies – global winds that flow from the poles and move to the west.

Prevailing westerlies – global winds that move toward the poles and appear to curve to the east.

Radiation – heat is transferred by the Sun.

Relative humidity – the amount of water vapor in the air compared to its water vapor capacity at a given temperature.

Revolution – the movement of the Earth revolving around the sun; full revolution about 365 days.

Rotation – how the Earth turns (rotates/spins) on its axis at an angle of 23.5 degrees while it revolves around the sun; full rotation takes 24 hours.

Saturation – the condition of a parcel of air holding as much water vapor as it can at the air temperature at that time.

Stratosphere – a layer of the atmosphere extending from the tropopause to about 30 miles.

Summer Solstice – usually on June 21st or 22nd, when the longest day when the sun is at its northernmost point from the equator in the Northern Hemisphere.

Temperature – a measure of molecular motion expressed on a manmade scale.

Thermosphere – a layer of the atmosphere extending from 50 to 300 miles.

Thunderstorm – cumulonimbus cloud possessing thunder and lightning; usually accompanied by strong winds, rain, and sometimes hail.

Tornado – whirling funnel of air of very low pressure and very strong winds; may be powerful enough to suck up anything in its path; must touch the ground to be called a tornado.

Trade Winds – a warm and steady wind that blows toward the equator.

Tropopause – the boundary between the troposphere and the stratosphere.

Troposphere – the first layer of the atmosphere where most of the Earth’s weather occurs.

Vernal (spring) equinox – usually on March 21st or 22nd, when the sun’s direct rays strike the equator resulting in equal day and night.

Water Cycle – continuous movement of water as it circulates between the Earth and its atmosphere.

Wind – a body of air in motion.

Wind chill – temperature and wind speed used to explain how cold it feels.

Winter solstice – usually on December 21st or 22nd, is the shortest day when the sun is farthest south of the equator and the Northern Hemisphere.


The following are links to online resources (videos, lesson plans, e-books) that can be used to better understand weather cycles, weather monitoring, and the climate:


The following are weather websites for getting current local weather information:


The following are books about the weather (all are at our library):

  • Weather by Catriona Clarke
  • Weather: A Visual Guide by Bruce Buckley
  • Weather by Brian Cosgrove
  • Weather by Ralph Hardy
  • Weather by Clare Oliver
  • Storms by Angela Royston
  • See-through Storms by Gill Paul
  • Storms of the Past and the Future by Karen J. Donnelly
  • Eye of the Storm: Chasing Storms with Warren Faidley by Stephen P. Kramer
  • Basic Illustrated. Weather Forecasting by Michael E. Hodgson
  • Guide to Weather Forecasting by Storm Dunlop
  • The Kids’ Book of Weather Forecasting by Mark Breen
  • Doppler Radar, Satellites, and Computer Models: the Science of Weather Forecasting by Paul Fleisher


The following are DVD series about the weather (all are at our library):

  • Weather by DK Publishing
  • All About Meteorology by Schlessinger Media (they have 5 other weather related videos)
  • Twisters Nature’s Deadly Force by VCI Entertainment
  • Natural Disasters: Hurricanes by Topics Entertainment
  • Hunt for the Supertwister by WGBH Boston Video
  • Bill Nye the science guy: Storms by Bill Nye the Science Guy (the have 6 other weather related videos)
  • Natural Disasters by DK Publishing
  • Tornado Intercept by National Geographic (they have other weather videos as well as lots of planet earth videos)
  • Forces of Nature by Warner Home Video