S-Cool Revision Summary

S-Cool Revision Summary

Adiabatic lapse rate Used to explain what occurs as a parcel of air rises, decreases in pressure and temperature, but increases in volume.
Advection cooling When warm, moist air is cooled as it crosses over a cooler sea or land surface.

Air mass

Area of air with relatively uniform properties of temperature and humidity.

Anabatic winds

Winds that blow up-valley, formed during warm afternoons.


Area of high pressure, descending/stable air giving rise to clear skies, and light winds.

Compression heating

The contraction of air and associated temperature increase.

Convection rain

Rain that forms as a result of intense ground heating.

Coriolis force

Deflection of winds as a result of the rotation of the Earth.


Low-pressure weather systems formed along a polar front giving rise to strong winds, cloud and rain.

Dry adiabatic lapse rate The rate a parcel of air cools at as it rises (or warms if falling) if condensation does not occur.

Environmental lapse rate

The average decrease in temperature with height (6.5 degrees per 1000m).


Air flowing over mountains causing a rapid increase in temperature.

Geostrophic wind

Wind flowing parallel to isobars.

Jet streams

Strong, fast moving winds found in the upper atmosphere.

Kanabatic winds

Down valley winds.

Lapse rates

Rates at which air temperatures decrease with height. Variations exist between dry air and saturated air.

Latent heat

Heat that remains after energy has been used to convert water into water vapour.

Long-wave radiation

Heat radiated from the Earth's surface that heats the lower troposphere.


Area (often urban) that exhibits considerable differences in temperature, humidity, clouds and precipitation, for example, from its surroundings.

Monsoons Seasonal reversals of wind direction that affect the Indian sub-continent.
Negative heat balance Exists at the poles - a loss of energy to the atmosphere.


Rain, snow, hail, fog.

Orographic rain

Rain formed as a result of relief that encourages warm, moist air to rise.

Positive heat balance Exists within the tropics, a surplus of energy.

Pressure gradient force

Movement of air from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure.

Radiation cooling When skies are clear at night, the ground loses heat very quickly. As a result, the air directly above the ground also cools quickly. Fog and dew may form.

Rossby waves

'Wavering channels of air' formed by westerly winds, and relief barriers.

Saturated Adiabatic Lapse Rate The rate at which air cools if it has risen sufficiently to reach dew point temperature, and condensation occurs.

Short wave radiation

Energy given off from the Sun.

Source region When air remains in one area for a period of time and it assumes the characteristics of the surface over which it has been present.
Tri-cellular model Model that helps explain the transfer of energy within the atmosphere, and resultant pressure belts.


Relates to hourly, daily atmospheric conditions such as precipitation, hours of sunshine, cloud cover, temperature and humidity.