For an explanation, see the main splats page
The principles of the weather
- Meteorology is the scientific study of weather effects and patterns, and it includes a great deal more than simple daily weather forecasting.
- All parts of the world are inter-connected by weather patterns, by cycles of energy and matter, air and ocean currents and migrations of animals.
- Most weather systems are metastable: they will continue while conditions remain the same, but small changes may switch them to a new metastable pattern.
- Weather is metastable: world weather patterns can flip when a single wind or current pattern is disrupted, and the new pattern can be hard to switch back again.
- Weather is driven by the flow of air around the world: that is to say, weather is driven by the wind patterns, as these also carry moisture and warmth.
- Multi-year weather patterns include El Niņo which runs on about a four-year scale and the Pacific decadal oscillation which is on about a ten-year scale.
- El Niņo is either a symptom or a cause of large-scale weather patterns over periods of several years, or quite possibly both, depending on how you look at it.
- The Coriolis effect makes weather patterns move in roughly circular paths: in the south, winds go clockwise around a low, but counter-clockwise in the north.
- Monsoon systems drive weather in Asia and northern Australia, bringing wet weather around June in Asia, and December on the southern side of the equator.
- The monsoons of Asia and Australia are probably a relatively new phenomenon, driven by air circulation around the Himalayas, once they were uplifted.
- Weather maps help in weather prediction, which is the art of extrapolating from the best available present data to an expected future outcome.
- Ocean currents are interlinked and interactive, and form a delicate metastable pattern that pumps nutrients, warmth and weather patterns around the world.
- The Conveyor is a worldwide ocean current that includes the Gulf Stream that keeps Europe warm. It is driven by the formation of sea ice in Arctic waters.
- The main ocean currents of the world are driven by the formation of sea ice, which leaves cold, dense, salty water near the surface, from where it sinks.
- Seasons are caused by the tilt of the earth on its axis, relative to its orbit, which leads to the solar radiation falling more on one hemisphere or the other.
- In 1920, Milutin Milankovich suggested long term climatic cycles may be due to changes in the eccentricity of the Earth's orbit and in the Earth's obliquity.
- Weather patterns travel from west to east because the earth rotates once a day. The weather is driven by ocean currents and their warmth or coolness.
- Weather patterns are shaped by the so-called Coriolis force, the effect that makes wind leaving the equator move towards the east, generating eddies.
- Alexander von Humboldt gave us isothermals, lines joining points of equal temperature. Plotting these globally showed the influence of geography on climate.
- Air pressure changes from place to place, and in a single place, it varies with time. Isobars are lines on a map that join places with the same air pressure.
- Air pollution may be trapped by an inversion layer, where dense air is trapped, especially in valleys, allowing an increase in local pollutant levels.
- Weather shows extremes: floods occur when rivers spill over their banks, drought is usually driven by global effects, cyclones and tornadoes form over the sea.
This file is http://members.ozemail.com.au/~macinnis/scifun/, first created on February 23, 2009. Last recorded revision (well I get lazy and forget sometimes!) was on February 23, 2009.
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