From Glossary of Meteorology
An orthogonal, or mutually perpendicular, system of curvilinear coordinates for the description of fluid motion, consisting of an axis t tangent to the instantaneous velocity vector and an axis n normal to this velocity vector to the left in the horizontal plane, to which a vertically directed axis z may be added for the description of three-dimensional flow.
Such a coordinate system often permits a concise formulation of atmospheric dynamical problems, especially in the Lagrangian system of hydrodynamics.
Holton, J. R. 1992. An Introduction to Dynamic Meteorology. 3d edition, Academic Press, . 61–63.