3 Winter Words You Should Know

Prospect Point at Niagra Falls State Park covered in snow after the polar vortex.

“Bombo”-what? Bombogenesis. It’s not a word you expect to hear from your local meteorologist. So what is it exactly? And what’s with the mishmash of strange weather vernacular over the past few months?

On Tuesday, meteorologist John Bolaris at Philly.com was the first to use the term “bombogenesis” to describe the large, fast-moving snowstorm that was heading toward the East Coast. NPR journalist Mark Memmott noticed the unusual word and wrote his own article called “What Is This Bombogenesis And Why Is It Dumping Snow On Us?” Memmott’s story went viral and brought national attention to the word.

But these two writers were not the first to use this term and other terms that have been popularized this winter.

The odd collection of weather words used in the media—such as “polar vortex”—are actually advanced technical terminologies for specific weather conditions. “Polar vortex” describes a wind pattern over the North and South Poles. “Bombogenesis” is a slang word used by meteorologists to describe a winter storm that forms quickly.

Why haven’t we heard these words before? According to Chris Vaccaro, a spokesperson for the National Weather Service, meteorologists are using these terms to describe weather conditions in areas that don’t typically see such events; the use of these words is then accelerated through social media.

“As a result of social media, these terms are picked up and spread much further,” said Vaccaro. “Now there are more voices to amplify our weather words.”

Read the full story here.

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About jensera

Jennifer Harrington is a Toronto-based illustrator, writer and graphic designer. She illustrated the best-selling children’s book series 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' which includes the titles 'A Moose in a Maple Tree,' 'The Night Before a Canadian Christmas' and 'Canadian Jingle Bells.' She is also the owner of JSH Graphics, a boutique graphic design agency that specializes in print and web advertising. With her latest project, Eco Books 4 Kids, Jennifer has partnered with illustrator Michael Arnott to create a series of ecologically-themed ebooks for children. Her next book, 'Spirit Bear,' is due for release in the Summer of 2013. Jennifer offers two different school presentations for her 'Moose in a Maple Tree' collection, an illustration demonstration and a Christmas concert series, which can be booked at www.amooseinamapletree.com. She will be taking bookings for school readings of 'Spirit Bear' beginning in October 2013.

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