In the third graders’ study of Antarctica, they came upon the word katabatic and used teacher Jean Eschenbach’s gigantic unabridged dictionary to look it up. The dictionary continued to draw various students’ interest throughout the morning.
Relating to wind currents that blow down a gradient, especially down the slopes of a mountain or glacier. When air comes in contact with the cool surface of a glacier or the upper regions of a mountain or slope, the air cools, becomes dense, and blows downward. Katabatic winds are usually cool and are especially common at night in polar regions. Compare anabatic.
ORIGIN late 19th cent.: from Greek katabatikos, from katabainein ‘go down.’