Learning English depends on some basic grammar rules, a bit of practice and a broad range of vocabulary. Here you will learn meteorology vocabulary.More and more academic curricula and companies expect their members to speak good English. Indeed, mastering this language has become a criterion to make the difference between candidates. Therefore GlobalExam has developed a solution tailored to each and everyone in order to help you learn English vocabulary.

In this article, you will find:

· A definition of meteorology

· 40 of the most useful meteorological terms and idiomatic expressions

· A quiz and a true or false exercise to practice learning this new vocabulary

If you are looking to stand out and improve your knowledge, this article is made for you. So let’s learn more about meteorology!

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What is meteorology: Definition and Examples

Meteorology is the study of weather. It belongs to the branch of science which addresses atmospheric phenomena. Meteorological phenomena depend on the variation and alteration of temperature, mass flow, water vapor and atmospheric pressure which define the changes in weather conditions.

For example, clouds, hurricanes, hail and droughts are meteorological phenomena.

Meteorological data is especially used for weather forecasting but many other domains need such information. The farming industry uses meteorology to study the effects of weather on the growth of plants; aviation to manage and regulate air traffic; and renewable energy to conduct research on wind power in order to optimize the installation.

Glossary of the most useful words in meteorology

Vocabulary Explanation Example
Air mass A large volume of air which temperature and humidity remain the same at any height Tropical air masses are hot.
Below freezing A temperature inferior to 0 degrees Celsius (32F) It has often gone below freezing this winter.
Boiling hot (idiomatic) Describes a very hot day It is boiling hot today, I wish I had a pool!
Breeze A very light wind Thanks to the refreshing breeze we did not suffocate from the heat.
Chilly Rather cold 12°C is a bit chilly for May.
Clear Describes a blue sky, free of clouds The sky is so clear tonight, we can see the Moon.
Climate Average weather conditions in a given region Ecology aims at fighting against climate change.
Cloud White or grey masses of water in the sky The clouds are so big: there is going to be a storm!
Cool A pleasantly cold temperature After that hot day a cool evening is more than welcome.
Degrees The unit of temperature measurement The freezer temperature should be -18 degrees C (0° F).
Drought A long period during which no rain falls The crops are all dried in the field due to the current drought.
Easterlies Winds blowing in intra-tropical regions from east to west Dakar has a mild micro-climate thanks to trade winds.
Exosphere The most external part of the atmosphere In the exosphere, the air is very thin.
Flood Heavy rainfalls leading to overflows Today’s storms have caused floods in many villages
Fog A thick cloud near the earth’s surface which blocks visibility We couldn’t see the tower because of the fog.
Forecast Previsions made about future weather According to the weather forecast, we’ll have a sunny weekend.
Freezing cold


Describes a very cold temperature It was freezing cold on that Christmas night.
Frost Ice forming on a frozen surface The frost killed our flowers last night.
Hail Pieces of ice that fall during a strong rain or storm The hail destroyed our wind-chill.
Hurricane A violent tropical storm The hurricane in New Orleans has caused massive damage
Ionosphere A ionized part of the atmosphere, comprising the mesosphere and thermosphere The ionosphere extends from 60 to 1000 km
Mild A moderate and smooth temperature The weather is quite mild for the season, you won’t need a scarf.
Mesosphere The third layer of the atmosphere The temperature is lower in the mesosphere due.
Overcast The clouds blocking the sun The sky is overcast today, the sun cannot be seen.
Precipitation Amount of rain or snow falling on a region There is a lot of precipitation in Scotland.
Rain The water falling from the clouds on earth Frogs and snails are happy in the rain.
Raining cats and dogs


It is raining heavily We couldn’t go out last night because it was raining cats and dogs.
Shower A light rainfall A shower would be so relieving for the plants that are thirsty.
Smog Dark fog caused by pollution The smog was so thick we couldn’t see nor breathe in the city.
Snow Frozen water falling during winter Without snow, there is no point going skiing.
Stratosphere The second layer of the atmosphere Commercial aircrafts fly just underneath the stratosphere.
Sun The bright star that warms and lightens earth It does look like summer’s here: there’s so much sun now!
Temperature Defines how warm or cold the air is feeling The temperature is low. Can you turn on the radiator?
Thermosphere The fourth layer of the atmosphere The International Space Station orbits in the thermosphere.
Thunderstorm A tempest usually with rain, lightning and thunder The thunderstorm was so strong I couldn’t sleep with all the noise and lightning!
Troposphere The first layer of the atmosphere above the world’s surface The troposphere is thicker at the equator than at the poles.
Westerlies Winds blowing in extra-tropical regions from west to east. The westerlies are stronger in the northern hemisphere.
Wind Air blowing outside which makes the clouds move Thanks to the winds, the sailing boat was traveling very fast.

Practice With a Quiz and Improve Your Vocabulary


1 What is called the fourth layer of the atmosphere?

A Stratosphere

B Mesosphere

C Westerlies

D Thermosphere

Answer: D Thermosphere

2 What is the expression to talk about heavy rain?

A Being on cloud nine

B Saving up for a rainy day

C Raining cats and dogs

D Breaking the ice

Answer: C Raining cats and dogs

3 What kind of wind is a breeze?

A Strong

B Cold

C From east to west

D Light

Answer: D Light

4 What is called the star that warms earth?

A The Northern star

B The Pistol star

C The Sun

D The Alpha Centauri A

Answer: C The Sun

5 What term defines a smooth temperature?

A Mild

B Boiling hot

C Freezing cold

D Chilly

Answer: A Mild

6 What is smog?

A A sort of smoke

B A dark fog caused by pollution

C A kind of frog

D A heavy wind

Answer: B A dark fog caused by pollution

7 What term describes a cloudless sky?

A Clear sky

B Overcast sky

C Cloudy sky

D Rainy sky

Answer: A Clear sky

8 What is a shower?

A A heavy rain

B A light rain

C An icy rain

D An acid rain

Answer: B A light rain

9 In what order are the atmosphere’s layers classified (from the earth to space)?

A Troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere, exosphere

B Troposphere, exosphere, thermosphere, stratosphere, mesosphere

C Atmosphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere, exosphere

D Stratosphere, mesosphere, troposphere, exosphere, thermosphere

Answer: A Troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, thermosphere, exosphere

10 What are we to expect in case of a thunderstorm?

A Rain, hail and sun

B Rain, thunder and snow

C Rain, thunder and lightning

D Rain, westerlies and fog

Answer: C Rain, thunder and lightning

True or false?

1 A below freezing temperature is really hot. FALSE

2 Westerlies blow from west to east. TRUE

3 Snow is made of water. TRUE

4 Only rainfalls are taken into account to quantify precipitations. FALSE

5 The lack of rain for a long time is called a flood. FALSE

6 A hurricane is a tropical storm. TRUE

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