WEATHER TERMINOLOGY



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U

ULTRAVIOLET
Electromagnetic radiation that has a wavelength shorter than visible light and longer than x-rays. Although it accounts for only 4 to 5 percent of the total energy of insolation, it is responsible for many complex photochemical reactions, such as fluorescence and the formation of ozone.
UNDERCAST
In aviation, it is an opaque cloud layer viewed from an observation point above the layer. From the ground, it would be considered an overcast.
UNITED STATES WEATHER BUREAU
The official name of the National Weather Service prior to 1970.
UNIVERSAL TIME COORDINATE
One of several names for the twenty-four hour time which is used throughout the scientific and military communities. Other names for this time measurement are Zulu (Z) or Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).
UNIVERSITY CORPORATION FOR ATMOSPHERIC RESEARCH (UCAR)
A non-profit university membership consortium which carries out programs to benefit atmospheric, oceanic, and related sciences around the globe. Among other activites, UCAR operates the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) with National Science Foundation sponsorship. For further information, contact UCAR, located in Boulder, Colorado.
UNSTABLE/ INSTABILITY
Occurs when a rising air parcel becomes less dense than the surrounding air. Since its temperature will not cool as rapidly as the surrounding environment, it will continue to rise on its own. Refer to instability. Contrast with stable air.
UPDRAFT
A small scale current of air with vertical motion. If there is enough moisture, then it may condense, forming a cumulus cloud, the first step towards thunderstorm development. Contrast with a downdraft.
UPPER AIR/UPPER LEVEL
The portion of the atmosphere which is above the lower troposphere. It is generally applied to the levels above 850 millibars. Therefore, upper level lows and highs, troughs, winds, observations, and charts all apply to atmospheric phenomena above the surface.
UPSLOPE EFFECT
The cooling of an air flow as it ascends a hill or mountain slope. If there is enough moisture and the air is stable, stratiform clouds and precipitation may form. If the air is unstable, there might be an increased chance of thunderstorm development. Contrast with a downslope effect.
UPSLOPE FOG
Fog that forms when warm, moist surface air is forced up a slope by the wind. It is adiabatically cooled to below its initial dew point, which means the air cools by expansion as it rises. It forms best where there is a gradual slope, and it can become quite deep, requiring considerable time to dissipate. An example is Cheyenne Fog.
UPWELLING
The process by which water rises from a lower to a higher depth, usually as a result of divergence and offshore currents. It influences climate by bringing colder, more nutrient-rich water to the surface. A vital factor of the El Nino event.
UPWIND
The direction from which the wind is blowing. Also the windward side of an object. The opposite of the downwind or leeward side.

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SOURCES

Branick, Michael. NOAA Technical Memorandum NWS SR-145, A Comprehensive Glossary of Weather Terms for Storm Spotters. U.S. Department of Commerce, 1995.

Everything Weather - The Essential Guide to the Whys and Wonders of Weather.

Famighetti, Robert (ed.). The World Almanac and Book of Facts (1996). Mahwah, New Jersey. Funk & Wagnalls Corporation, 1995.

Federal Meteorological Handbook No. 1, Surface Weather Observations and Reports. National Weather Service, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1996.

Huschke, R.E. (ed.). The Glossary of Meteorology. Boston, Massachusetts. American Meteorological Society Press, 1980.

National Weather Service Observing Handbook No. 7, Surface Weather Observations and Reports. U.S. Department of Commerce, 1996.