Outdoor Glossary: W

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wading birds
long-necked, long legged birds that feed by wading in wetlands and catching prey with their bills. Examples are egrets, herons, ibises, Roseate spoonbills, flamingos, and bitterns.

wading shoes/boots
Shoes designed to be worn over stockingfoot waders.

water depth
Distance between the seabed and the still water level.

water level
The elevation of a particular point or small patch on the surface of a body of water above a specific point or surface, averaged over a period of time sufficiently long to remove the effects of short period disturbances.

water line
(1) The juncture of land and sea. This line migrates, changing with the tide or other variation of the water level. Where waves are present on the beach, this line is also known as the limit of backrush. (2) The common boundary between the water surface and any immersed structure.

water mark
A line or mark left on the shores of a body of water by the water as an indication of the waters former elevation.

water table
The upper surface of groundwater. Below it, the soil is saturated with water.

water table
The upper surface of a zone of saturation, where the body of groundwater is not confined by an overlying impermeable formation. Where an overlying confining formation exists, the aquifer in question has no water table.

water type
A water having well-defined temperature, salinity and nutrient characteristics.

water yield
The runoff from a watershed, including groundwater outflow.

water, navigavle
The waters which are or can be used as water highways for commerce.

Materials that resist penetration by water for a short time

ducks, geese, and swans. Does not include America coot.

Materials that do not allow water to penetrate them.

The entire region drained by a waterway (or into a lake or reservoir. More specifically, a watershed is an area of land above a given point on a stream that contributes water to the streamflow at that point.

(1) An oscillatory movement in a body of water manifested by an alternate rise and fall of the surface. (2) A disturbance of the surface of a liquid body, as the ocean, in the form of a ridge, swell or hump. (3) The term wave by itself usually refers to the term surface gravity wave (progressive). See also capillary wave, gravity wave, progressive wave, standing wave, tide wave, tsunami.

wave age
The ratio of wave velocity to wind velocity

wave base
The plane or depth to which waves may erode the bottom in shallow water.

wave climate
Average condition of the waves at a place, over a period of years, as shown by height, period, direction, etc.

wave climate atlas
Series of maps showing the variability of wave conditions over a long coastline.

wave crest
(1) The highest part of the wave. (2) That part of the wave above still water level.

wave crest length
See crest length

wave delta
See delta

wave direction
The direction from which the waves are coming

wave drift
The small net forward displacement of water in the direction of the wave travel, particularly in waves of large amplitude, so that the orbits are not quite closed, and the water, while in the crests, moves slightly further forward than it moves backward while in the troughs. See also mass transport, shoreward.

wave generation
Growth of wave energy by wind.

wave group
A series of waves in which the distance between crests, and the amplitude, vary only slightly.

wave height
The vertical distance between the crest (the high point of a wave) and the trough the low point.

wave hindcast
The calculation from historic synoptic weather charts of the wave characteristics that probably occurred at some past time.

wave hollow
See wave trough

wave length
The distance, in meters, between equivalent points (crests or troughs) on waves.

wave period
(1) The time required for two successive wave crests to pass a fixed point. (2) The time, in seconds, required for a wave crest to traverse a distance equal to one wave length.

wave propagation
The transmission of waves through water.

wave recorder
A meter which records either the surface time history of gravity waves, or the subsurface pressure time history due to these waves.

wave refraction
See refraction

wave rose
Diagram showing the long-term distribution of wave height and direction

wave set-up
elevation of the still-water level due to breaking waves.

wave staff
An instrument consisting of a graduated vertical pole for measuring wave heights, and, by introducing a timing device, wave periods. The staff may support a strip or series of electrical contacts for activating a recorder.

wave steepness
The ratio of wave height to its length. Not the same thing as the slope between a wave crest and its adjacent trough.

wave train
A series of waves from the same direction

wave transtormation
Change in wave energy due to the action of physical processes.

wave trough
The lowest part of the wave form between crests. Also that part of a wave below still water level.

wave variability
(1) The variation of heights and periods between individual waves within a wave train. Wave trains are not composed of waves of equal heights and periods, but rather of heights and periods which vary in a statistical manner. (2) The variability in direction of wave travel when leaving the generating area. (3) The variation in height along the crest.

wave velocity
Speed at which the individual wave form advances, defined as the wave length divided by the wave period (in meters per second). See celerity.

wave wash
The erosive action on shores or embankments caused by the lapping or breaking of waves.

wave-cut platform
A horizontal bench of rock formed beneath the surf zone as a coast retreats because of wave erosion.

to gradually reduce the amount of milk nursed by a baby until the baby is no longer nursing any milk. A mother fox weans her pups when they are ready to eat solid food.

weather shore
The land lying in the direction from which the wind is coming. The windward side.

A low dam or wall across a stream to raise the upstream water level. Termed fixed crest weir when uncontrolled.

A hole, generally cylindrical and usually walled or lined with pipe, that is dug or drilled into the ground to penetrate an aquifer below the zone of saturation.

well mixed estuary
In this circulation type, tidal fluctuations dominate, and the water column is mixed vertically.

West Australian Current
An Indian Ocean current setting northward along the west coast of Australia.

West Greenland Current
A North Atlantic Ocean current setting northward along the west coast of Greenland.

west wind drift
The largest permanent current in the world, setting eastward around the Antarctic Continent south of Cape Horn, Cape of Good Hope, Tasmania, and New Zealand. Through Drake Passage, it transports approximately 200 x 106 m3/s. Same as Antarctic Circumpolar Current.

wet fly
An artificial fly designed to replicate one of the following: an adult insect that has drowned, an adult insect that is diving down to the bottom of a stream or river to deposit a load of eggs, or an immature emerging insect.

Areas that are permanently wet or are intermittently covered with water.

habitats that are seasonally inundated with water, and that typically have special soils and vegetation.

Lands whose saturation with water is the dominant factor determining the nature of soil development and the types of plant and animal communities that live in the soil and on its surface (e.g. Mangrove forests).

Area at the sides of the chin. Synonym(s): moustache, malar streak.

white bass
Silver Bass- A glance discloses the White's relationship to the Striper. The coloration and stripes are dead giveaways. Size: Usually 1 to 2 pounds. World record 6 pounds 13 ounces.

The white froth on crests of waves in a wind (caused by the wind blowing the crest forward and over).

wilderness (Wilderness Area)
Undeveloped federal land retaining its primeval character, without permanent human habitation or improvements. It is protected and managed to preserve its natural condition. Wilderness Areas are designated by Congress.

Any wildland fire that is not a prescribed fire.

are free roaming vertebrate animals.

wildlife habitat diversity
The distribution and abundance of different plant and animal communities and species within a specific area.

wind current
A current created by the action of the wind. From theoretical considerations, currents produced by winds in the open sea will set to the right of the direction towards which the wind is blowing if in the Northern Hemisphere and to the left of this direction if in the Southern Hemisphere.

wind drift
An ocean current in which only the Coriolis and frictional forces are significant. The wind drift embodies an Ekman spiral.

wind ripple
Small, low ridge of sand produced by the saltation of windblown sand.

wind rose
Diagram showing the long-term distribution of wind speed and direction.

wind sea
wave conditions directly attributable to recent winds, as opposed to swell.

wind setup
(1) The vertical rise in the stillwater level on the leeward side of a body of water caused by wind stresses on the surface of the water. (2) The difference in stillwater levels on the windward and the leeward sides of a body of water caused by wind stresses on the surface of the water. (3) synonymous with wind tide and storm surge. Storm surge is usually reserved for use on the ocean and large bodies of water. Wind setup is usually reserved for use on reservoirs and smaller bodies of water.

wind stress
The way in which wind transfers energy to the sea surface.

wind tide
The deviation from a still-water level surface elevation caused by the transport of surface water by winds.

wind waves
(1) waves formed and growing in height under the influence of wind. (2) Loosely, any wave generated by wind.

Trees uprooted by wind.

The direction from which the wind is blowing

Moveable feathered appendage.

wing bars
Pale tips of greater and median secondary coverts.

wing coverts
Primary and secondary coverts.

wing lining
Median, lesser and marginal coverts on underwing.

wing stripe
Paler area at base of flight feathers.

Ventral area between the body and the wing. Synonym(s): axillary. In picture it is referred to as axillary.

A metal line that varies in thickness used to rig lures or to fish live bait with so the line does not cut or break easily.

witness mark
A material mark placed at a known distance and direction from a property corner, an instrument station or a survey station, as an aid in its recovery and identification.

witness post
See witness mark.

the organ in the female mammal in which developing young are carried until birth. Also called the uterus.

wood fiber production
The growing, tending, harvesting, and regeneration of harvestable trees.

woodland products
Harvestable items from pinyon-juniper woodlands. These include fuelwood, posts, pine nuts and Christmas trees.


Fishing with a plastic worm, lizard, crawfish, or other type of soft bait.

Area at base of the primaries.


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