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12. Wind Systems.docx

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Environmental Science
Luc Bernier

ENVIR SCI 1A03 February 26, 2014 Major Wind Systems Which Forces influence Wind Direction and Speed? • Coriolis Effect: apparent force caused by Earth’s rotation o For high scales, 100 km, constantly, not just in a day o Example: throwing a ball and its trajectory • Characteristics of Coriolis Effect o In N hemisphere it pulls to the right and otherwise in S hemisphere o Magnitude increases as it moves closer to the poles, no CF at equator o Affects water, ocean currents and air, any object will be deflected in its trajectory because of Earth’s rotation o Wind Speed effect: CF increases with the speed of the object o CF only changes the direction of the object, not its speed o Relation to latitudes: strongest near the poles, none along equator What is Geostrophic Wind? • No friction at high altitude • Movement will eventually be parallel to isobars • PGF = CF • Gradually cf gains in momentum and will eventually occur at high altitude and become parallel to isobar • Opposite directions pgf and cf • What is the speed of geostrophic wind? o Spacing of isobars indicates speed • Winds that flow parallel to curved isobars • Constantly changes direction • Gradient flow is constantly adjusting in terms of direction even though on average it if perpendicular to CF What are Upper-Level Cyclones and Anticyclones? • Rotating air parcels • Pressure gradient force is pulling air toward low pressure and ultimately result in imbalance of pressure which results in centripetal force: imbalance between PGF and CF • Constant adjustments in direction of winds of anticyclones, winds are perpendicular to PGF • Force is at
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