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Glossary W


teep-sided valley or ravine in desert and semi-arid areas. Usually only contain streams during flash-floods associated with heavy storm events.

Small, worm-like parasites (the larvae of the warble fly) often found beneath the skin of rabbits. Warbles are small hard nodules produced by the larva of a fly that has penetrated the skin.

Warm front
The front edge of a body of warm air where it meets and rises above a body of colder air.

Water Cycle
The natural cycle in which the sun’s energy evaporates water into the atmosphere, and the water vapor condenses, returning to the Earth as precipitation (rain, snow, sleet, etc.). (see more about the water cycle)

Place where running water makes a sheer drop.

Ducks and geese.

The ability to completely repel water.

Water Resistant
The ability to resist, but not completely repel, water.

The term given to the land that drains water into a particular stream, lake, or river.

A hole dug into the ground in the attempt to intersect water or other subsurface fluids.

The west to east winds that prevail over the mid-latitudes in the northern and southern hemispheres.

An area of land that is often wet; the soil in wetlands are often low in oxygen. Wetland plants are adapted to life in wet soil. There are many types of wetlands, including: swampslough, fen, bog, marsh, moor, muskeg, peat land, bottomland, mire, wet meadow, riparian, etc.

Structure built along the shore of navigable waters so ships may lie alongside to receive and discharge cargo and passengers.

A condition caused by falling and/or blowing snow that reduces visibility to nothing or zero miles; typically only a few feet. Whiteouts can occur rapidly often blinding motorists and creating chain-reaction crashes involving multiple vehicles. Whiteouts are most frequent during blizzards.

Areas of land that have never experienced any meaningful human activity.

Wilting Point
The point at which water losses due to transpiration are greater than gains through the roots. Photosynthesis will begin to slow.

Wind Chill
The additional cooling effect resulting from wind blowing on bare skin. The wind chill is based on the rate of heat loss from exposed skin caused by the combined effects of wind and cold. The (equivalent) wind chill temperature is the temperature the body “feels” for a certain combination of wind and air temperature. (see more about wind chill)

Wind Drift (hunting)
When a bullet is blown off its intended path by wind.

Windage (hunting)
The horizontal point of impact of a bullet. When sighting in a rifle, the shooter must adjust the windage of the rifle if its point of impact is to the left or right of center. Its vertical counterpart is called “elevation.”

Windage Unit (hunting)
On more expensive sights you can move the whole sight assembly left or right (windage) to zero in your point of impact. Cheaper sights have individually adjustable pins for “windage” adjustment.

The side facing into the wind. When speaking of a mountain range, these areas are generally cooler and wetter than on the leeward side.

Whipping (knots)
A binding knot used to prevent another line from fraying.

Wolf Tree
A large spreading tree, often an oak or beech, which has multiple cavities in its branches and trunk that provide refuge for squirrels.

A small plot of land on which trees are grown and cut.