Glossary of Meteorology

For over forty years, the peer-reviewed Glossary of Meteorology has been the authoritative source for definitions of meteorological terms.

In 1959, the AMS published the Glossary of Meteorology, containing 7,900 terms.  More than 10,000 copies were sold over four decades through five printings. It is a tribute to the editors of that first edition that it has withstood the test of time and continued to be among the leading reference sources in meteorology and related sciences.

The second edition of the Glossary was published in 2000 with more than 12,000 terms. In 2013, the Glossary of Meteorology was converted to an electronic version based on the second edition. This is now a living document and meant to be periodically updated as terms in our field evolve. To that end, AMS has established a Chief Editor for the Glossary who is responsible for updating and revising existing terms and adding new terms.

Readers who would like to suggest changes to existing terms or propose definitions for new terms to be added are encouraged to submit a request form.

For full details of Glossary procedures, please visit Glossary Procedures.

The Preface to the Second Edition of the Glossary (2000) is available on the History page.

Recommendations for correctly citing and referencing the Glossary of Meteorology are given on the Citation page.

Editors and Staff Contacts

Chief Editor

Ward Seguin

Assistant Chief Editor

Kristie Franz, STAC Commissioner

Editorial Support

Gwendolyn Whittaker, Director of Publications
Richard R. Brandt, Senior Technical Editor

Updating the Glossary

The Publications Commission and the Scientific and Technological Activities Commission (STAC) jointly developed a mechanism for updating the Glossary of Meteorology through the 36 STAC Boards/Committees (and/or other experts), which represent the expertise necessary to vet proposed changes and create new terms. This process is managed by the Glossary Chief Editor (appointed by the Publications Commission and approved by AMS Council for a 3-year term) and the Assistant Chief Editor (the STAC Commissioner). AMS Publications staff provide administrative, editing, and technical support.

View recently added or edited terms in the Glossary:

cool change

atmospheric ducting

radio duct


or go exploring with a Random Term