Getting Started....

In this Step we’ve provided some basic pointers to help you get to grips with some of the terminology and concepts you will be encountering throughout the course. Some of you may already be familiar with this material - if you are please move onto the next Step but don’t forget to mark this one as ‘Complete’ before you do.

We’ve also included a glossary of terms in a PDF document at the bottom of this Step. You may find it helpful to print a copy, to keep to hand whilst you work through each Week.

How to a read weather (or synoptic) chart

An example of a weather chart with a key table showing what the symbols mean. 
Warm front: always in red represented by a line with semi-circles attached. 
Cold front: always in blue represented by a line with triangles attached. 
Occluded front: always in purple represented by a line and alternate between a semicircle and a triangle. 
Low pressure is represented by a large L.
High pressure is represented by a large H.
Isobars are represented by a thin black lines with the measure of the atmospheric pressure in millibars.

Earth’s temperature zones A world map with highlighted areas showing us where the Tropic and Polar regions are. Starting with northern polar region at the top, then mid-latitude, Tropics in the middle, then back into mid-latitude ending with the southern polar region.

Earth’s atmosphere A diagram showing the layers in the atmosphere, starting with the nearest to the Earth’s surface: Troposphere, tropopause, stratosphere, stratopause, mesosphere, mesopause, thermosphere, thermopause and exosphere

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This article is from the free online course:

Come Rain or Shine: Understanding the Weather

University of Reading