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GR 8 Unit 3 - Weather & Oceans (Dec. 1-Jan. 30)

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Essential Questions

How is weather created and measured? 
How are ocean currents created and how do they impact weather around the world?


  • wave - a rhythmic movement that carries energy through matter or space
  • tides - the twice-a-day, cyclical rising and falling of sea level, resulting in higher levels of water during half the day and lower levels of water the other half of the day
  •  crest - the high point of a wave
  • trough - the low point of a wave
  • clockwise - moves in the directions to the movement of the hands on a clock
  • counter clockwise - moves in the opposite direction to the movement of the hands on a clock
  • surface currents - move water horizontally, parallel to Earth's surface, and only move the top few hundred meters of seawater
  • deep ocean currents - move water vertically; one mass of seawater sinks while another mass of seawater rises
  • Coriolis effect - causes moving air and water to turn left in the southern hemisphere and turn right in the northern hemisphere due to Earth’s rotation; responsible for the creation of ocean currents
  • salinity - the amount of dissolved salt in the water
  • gyre - large, circular, surface currents that are found in each of Earth's oceans
  • weather - the state of the atmosphere at a specific time and place, describing conditions such as air pressure, wind, temperature, and humidity
  • air pressure - the weight of a column of air pressing down on the Earth (high air pressure (H) and low air pressure (L) on a weather map)
  • barometer - a tool used to measure air pressure
  • wind - created when air moves from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure; air moving in a specific direction
  • wind speed - how fast wind is moving
  • anemometer - a tool used to measure wind speed
  • wind direction - the direction that the wind is coming from
  • wind vane - a tool used to measure wind direction
  • relative humidity - the amount of the water that is in the air compared to the amount of water that the air would need for saturation at its current temperature
  • psychrometer - a tool used to measure relative humidity
  • dew point-the temperature at which the air is saturated with water vapor, so the vapor condenses into liquid
  • stratus - usually form at low altitudes; may be associated with fair weather or rain or snow; formed when air is cooled to its dew point near the ground
  • cirrus - appear fibrous or curly; high then, white, feathery clouds made of ice crystals; associated with fair weather but they may indicate approaching storms
  • cumulus - masses of puffy, white clouds, often with flat bases; sometimes towers to great heights; can be associated with fair weather and thunderstorms
  • air mass - a large body of air that has the same temperature and moisture content
  • warm front - created when a warm and humid air mass collides into a cold air mass and as a result the warm air mass rises (creates warm temperatures and clear skies) (symbol on a weather map is a red line with half circles)
  • cold front - created when a cold air mass pushes into and under a warm air mass (creates thunderstorms, cooling temperatures, and clearing skies) (symbol on a weather map is a blue line with triangles)
  • weather map - a map that forecasts (predicts) the weather that is coming to a specific area; includes air pressure areas (Highs or Lows) and fronts(move from west to east)
  • stationary front - created when warm and cold air masses collide, but neither is forceful enough to cause the other to rise (symbol on a weather map are opposing blue triangles and red half circles)
  • occluded front - created when a cold front overtakes a warm front (symbol on a weather map is a purple line with alternating triangles and half circles)

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