Category Archives: meteorology

Hurlecane season

Here in the middle of this bafflingly quiet Atlantic hurricane season, I thought I’d look at the words hurricane and typhoon. Both words refer to the same thing, a large tropical cyclone (that is, an organized low pressure system over warm tropical or subtropical water). Which name is used depends on where they occur (hurricanes in the Atlantic… Read More »

Who put the meteors in meteorology?

While we’re on the subject of meteors, what have meteors got to do with meteorology? It turns out that the link between meteors and meteorology is a Greek word, meteoron, that refers to things in the air, or sky—what today we would call atmospheric phenomena. Clouds, lightning, rain, storms, wind: these are all features of the sublunary sphere… Read More »

The meteor family of words

Sometimes words that describe the natural world come in a rather confusing clump. I’m hoping to explore many of these groups of words describing interrelated or similar concepts. Because one of the best-known meteor showers, the Perseids, is peaking this weekend, let’s start with the meteor family of words. A meteor, of course, is that thin needle of… Read More »