From Glossary of Meteorology


  1. In general, pertaining to or affording an overall view.

    In meteorology, this term has become somewhat specialized in referring to the use of meteorological data obtained simultaneously over a wide area for the purpose of presenting a comprehensive and nearly instantaneous picture of the state of the atmosphere. Thus, to a meteorologist, "synoptic" takes on the additional connotation of simultaneity.

  2. A specific scale of atmospheric motion with a typical range of many hundreds of kilometers, including such phenomena as cyclones and tropical cyclones.

    Compare mesoscale.