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View Diary: Mapping the Upper Atmosphere -- Tracking the Polar Vortex (27 comments)

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  •  Almost followed you all the way through (3+ / 0-)
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    jamess, Hey338Too, Glen The Plumber

    This is brilliant, and I am going to read it much more closely now, but I already know where I get hung up every time on ridges, troughs and air flow:

    the phenomena of wind is quite simply the movement of air from areas of "high pressure" to areas of "low pressure"
    it is these more-widely dispersed "polar obstacles" (mountains of low pressure) that are steering the surrounding Arctic winds
    Those statements seem to me to be contradictory. If air flows from high pressure toward low pressure (which makes intuitive sense), then an area of low pressure ought to be a valley, not a mountain, and certainly not an obstacle that air tries to flow around.

    Can you clarify that? I'd appreciate it.

    And remember: If you don't like the news, go out and make some of your own. - Scoop Nisker, the Last News Show

    by North Madison on Sat Apr 19, 2014 at 05:10:55 PM PDT

    •  I'm using (5+ / 0-)

      the term "mountain" in a "blocking sense"

      -- not in the "height" sense.

      A bubble of cold arctic air is very stable,
      and it is very hard for other air masses to move out of the way.

      They tend to drift along at their own pace,
      acting like a "mountain" relative to other structures.
      (like the hikers facing Devils Tower.)

      Sorry I can see where that's confusing, maybe I'll try to rework the pharsing.


      the statements about the winds,
      are happening at 2 different levels in the atmosphere -- ground and 500 mb.

      They have different patterns at those levels. The ground level winds are more direct, and straight-path (the common notion of wind.)

      The stronger mid-level winds tend follow channels (jet streams)
      which themselves tend to follow the equal contours of the ridges and troughs.
      (ie. which move around structures, via least resistant path.)

      It's is confusing, I know.  

      Sorry for mixing metaphors, and rules of thumbs.

      thanks for the feedback, North Madison.


      Sooner or later were going to have to: Trade in those Carbon Footprints ...

      by jamess on Sat Apr 19, 2014 at 05:24:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I've made the following clarification (4+ / 0-)

      in response to your comment:

      And it is these more-widely dispersed "polar obstacles" (mountains deep canyons of low pressure) that are steering the surrounding Arctic winds (and weather) to places, it would not normally go.
      thanks again.


      Sooner or later were going to have to: Trade in those Carbon Footprints ...

      by jamess on Sat Apr 19, 2014 at 05:37:29 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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