From Glossary of Meteorology


  1. In mechanics, a state in which the vector sum of all forces, that is, the acceleration vector, is zero.

    In hydrodynamics, it is usually further required that a steady state exist throughout the atmospheric or fluid model. The equilibrium may be stable or unstable with respect to displacements therefrom.
    See also hydrostatic equilibrium, geostrophic equilibrium, instability.

  2. In thermodynamics, any state of a system that would not undergo change if the system were to be isolated.

    Processes in an isolated system not in equilibrium are irreversible and always in the direction of equilibrium.