LEARN NC was a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education from 1997 – 2013. It provided lesson plans, professional development, and innovative web resources to support teachers, build community, and improve K-12 education in North Carolina. Learn NC is no longer supported by the School of Education – this is a historical archive of their website.

accretion n.
A slow addition to land by deposition of water-borne sediment; an increase of land along the shores of a body of water.
atmospheric pressure n.
Pressure caused by the weight of the atmosphere. Atmospheric pressure decreases with increasing altitude. Normal atmospheric pressure at sea level is about fifteen pounds per square inch.
barrier island n.
A long, relatively narrow island running parallel to the mainland, built up by the action of waves and currents and serving to protect the coast from erosion by surf and tidal surges.
beach accretion n.
Accumulation of sand or other beach material due to the natural action of waves, currents and wind; a build-up of sand or other beach material.
beach nourishment n.
The building up of a beach artificially by pumping, dumping, or pushing sand onto the beach.
berm n.
A terrace formed by wave action along the backshore of a beach.
converge v.
Tend toward or approach an intersecting point; come together from different directions.
Coriolis effect n.
The tendency for any moving body on or above the earth's surface (such as an ocean current) to drift sideways from its course because of the earth's rotation. In the northern hemisphere the deflection is to the right of the motion; in the southern hemisphere it is to the left.
crest n.
The top, as of a hill or wave.
dissipate v.
To cause to separate and go in various directions; dispel, disperse, scatter.
dune n.
A hill or ridge of wind-blown sand.
ecology n.
Ecology, or ecological science, is the scientific study of the distribution and abundance of living organisms and how these properties are affected by interactions between the organisms and their environment.
elevation n.
Height on the earth's surface above sea level.
environmental feedback loop n.
The cycle that occurs when a population or natural occurence interacts with the environment and in turn alters the conditions that produced or influenced the population or occurrence. [more]
forest canopy n.
The uppermost layer in a forest, formed by the crowns of the trees.
hurricane n.
A severe tropical cyclone originating in the equatorial regions of the Atlantic Ocean or Caribbean Sea or eastern regions of the Pacific Ocean, traveling north, northwest, or northeast from its point of origin, and usually involving heavy rains and has surface wind speeds greater than 74 miles (or 119 kilometers) per hour. [more]
inlet n.
A recess, such as a bay or cove, along a coast; a stream or bay leading inland, as from the ocean; an estuary; a narrow passage of water, as between two islands; a drainage passage.
intertidal adj.
Of or being the region between the high tide mark and the low tide mark.
juxtaposed v.
Placed side by side.
latent heat n.
The quantity of heat absorbed or released by a substance undergoing a change of state, such as ice changing to water or water to steam, at constant temperature and pressure. It is called latent because it is not associated with a change in temperature.
maritime forest n.
A forested community affected by salt spray, usually located on the mainland side of a barrier beach or island. [more]
overwash fan n.
A break in a continuous dune line or line of vegetation where storm tides carried sand from oceanside, to estuaries, great ponds, and bayside; often clears a vegetation-free path from ocean to inner water body.
phenomena n.
Occurrences, circumstances, or facts that are perceptible by the senses; observable events.
pollutant n.
Substance (such as a waste material) that pollutes or contaminates the air, soil, or water and can damage the environment.
regenerate v.
To become formed or constructed again; return to life; get or give new life or energy.
salt marsh n.
A low coastal grassland frequently overflowed by the tide.
salt spray n.
Moisture-laden wind that contains salt crystals; a salty moisture that is carried by the wind.
storm surge n.
Water that is pushed toward the shore by the force of the winds swirling around a storm. [more]
tropical cyclone n.
A storm system with a closed circulation around a centre of low pressure, fueled by the heat released when moist air rises and condenses.
tropical depression n.
Cyclone that has maximum sustained surface winds of 33 knots (38 miles per hour) or less and is located in the tropics or subtropics.
tropical disturbance n.
An organized mass of tropical thunderstorms with a slight cyclonic circulation and winds less than 20 knots (about 23 miles per hour).
tropical storm n.
A cyclonic storm having surface winds ranging from approximately 48 to 121 kilometers per hour (30 to 75 miles per hour).
trough n.
A long, narrow depression, as between waves or ridges.
turbulent adj.
Violently disturbed or agitated, as by storms; rough, stormy, tempestuous, tumultuous, violent, wild.
winnowed v.
Blown away; scattered.