A coordinate system
in which the locations of points in space are expressed by reference to three planes, called coordinate planes, no two of which are parallel.
The three planes intersect in three straight lines, called coordinate axes. The coordinate planes and coordinate axes intersect in a common point, called the origin. From any point P
in space three straight lines may be drawn, each of which is parallel to one of the three coordinate axes; each of these lines will then intersect one (and only one) of the three coordinate planes. If A
denote these points of intersection, the Cartesian coordinates P
are the distances PA
, and PC
. If the coordinate axes are mutually perpendicular, the coordinate system is rectangular; otherwise, oblique. In meteorology, the most common orientation of the x
, z rectangular Cartesian coordinates
is such that the x
axis is directed toward the east, tangent to the earth's surface; the y
axis toward the north, tangent to the earth's surface; and the z
axis toward the local zenith
, perpendicular to the earth's surface. Compare curvilinear coordinates
Copyright 2022 American Meteorological Society (AMS). For permission to reuse any portion of this work, please contact email@example.com. Any use of material in this work that is determined to be “fair use” under Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act (17 U.S. Code § 107) or that satisfies the conditions specified in Section 108 of the U.S.Copyright Act (17 USC § 108) does not require AMS’s permission. Republication, systematic reproduction, posting in electronic form, such as on a website or in a searchable database, or other uses of this material, except as exempted by the above statement, require written permission or a license from AMS. Additional details are provided in the AMS Copyright Policy statement.