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Subsidence (atmosphere)
In the study of Earth's atmosphere, subsidence is the downward movement of an air parcel as it cools and becomes denser. By contrast, warm air becomes less dense and moves upwards (atmospheric convection). Subsidence generally creates a high-pressure area as more air moves into the same space: the polar highs are areas of almost constant subsidence, as are the horse latitudes, and the areas of subsidence are the sources of much of the world's prevailing winds. Subsidence also causes many smaller-scale weather phenomena, such as morning fog. An extreme form of subsidence is a downburst, which can result in damage similar to that produced by a tornado. A milder form of subsidence is referred to as downdraft. Atmospheric pressure and atmospheric subsidence The Dosen barometer (pictured) clearly relates high pressure with fine weather, as seen in its dial. This is because high pressure zones are subsidence zones, with dry and cool air descending and, therefore, clear skies and ...
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Prevailing Wind
In meteorology, prevailing wind in a region of the Earth's surface is a surface wind that blows predominantly from a particular direction. The dominant winds are the trends in direction of wind with the highest speed over a particular point on the Earth's surface at any given time. A region's prevailing and dominant winds are the result of global patterns of movement in the Earth's atmosphere. In general, winds are predominantly easterly at low latitudes globally. In the mid-latitudes, westerly winds are dominant, and their strength is largely determined by the polar cyclone. In areas where winds tend to be light, the sea breeze/land breeze cycle is the most important cause of the prevailing wind; in areas which have variable terrain, mountain and valley breezes dominate the wind pattern. Highly elevated surfaces can induce a thermal low, which then augments the environmental wind flow. Wind roses are tools used to display the direction of the prevailing wind. Knowledge of ...
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Convection
Convection is single or multiphase fluid flow that occurs spontaneously due to the combined effects of material property heterogeneity and body forces on a fluid, most commonly density and gravity (see buoyancy). When the cause of the convection is unspecified, convection due to the effects of thermal expansion and buoyancy can be assumed. Convection may also take place in soft solids or mixtures where particles can flow. Convective flow may be transient (such as when a multiphase mixture of oil and water separates) or steady state (see Convection cell). The convection may be due to gravitational, electromagnetic or fictitious body forces. Heat transfer by natural convection plays a role in the structure of Earth's atmosphere, its oceans, and its mantle. Discrete convective cells in the atmosphere can be identified by clouds, with stronger convection resulting in thunderstorms. Natural convection also plays a role in stellar physics. Convection is often categor ...
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Diathermancy
Diathermancy (from "dia" ''through'' and "thermē" ''heat'') is the property of some fluids that allows rays of light through them without itself being heated. A diathermanous substance is thus "permeable" by heat. Diathermancy was first described by German physicist and chemist Heinrich Gustav Magnus in the 1800s.Magnus wrote initially four papers on Diathermanc/ref> Air ''is'' diathermanous; therefore atmospheric air ''is not'' heated by sunshine. Atmospheric air is heated by long-wave thermal radiation emitted by soil, and especially, by water on the Earth's surface. Water ''is not'' diathermanous, and it ''is'' heated directly by sunshine. Atmospheric heating from oceanic waters Atmospheric heat comes from long-wave radiation from the soil and, mostly, from the water surface (oceans, lakes, rivers), because water is a not diathermanous body and covers three quarters of Earth's surface. Diathermancy cause subsidence above damp or water surfaces. That is because these ar ...
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Downdraft
In meteorology, an updraft is a small-scale current of rising air, often within a cloud. Overview Localized regions of warm or cool air will exhibit vertical movement. A mass of warm air will typically be less dense than the surrounding region, and so will rise until it reaches air that is either warmer or less dense than itself. The converse will occur for a mass of cool air, and is known as subsidence. This movement of large volumes of air, especially when regions of hot, wet air rise, can create large clouds, and is the central source of thunderstorms. Drafts can also be conceived by low or high pressure regions. A low pressure region will attract air from the surrounding area, which will move towards the center and then rise, creating an updraft. A high pressure region will attract air from the surrounding area, which will move towards the center and sink, spawning a downdraft. Updrafts and downdrafts, along with wind shear in general, are a major contributor to airplane cra ...
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Tornado
A tornado is a violently rotating column of air that is in contact with both the surface of the Earth and a cumulonimbus cloud or, in rare cases, the base of a cumulus cloud. It is often referred to as a twister, whirlwind or cyclone, although the word cyclone is used in meteorology to name a weather system with a low-pressure area in the center around which, from an observer looking down toward the surface of the Earth, winds blow counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern. Tornadoes come in many shapes and sizes, and they are often visible in the form of a condensation funnel originating from the base of a cumulonimbus cloud, with a cloud of rotating debris and dust beneath it. Most tornadoes have wind speeds less than , are about across, and travel several kilometers (a few miles) before dissipating. The most extreme tornadoes can attain wind speeds of more than , are more than in diameter, and stay on the ground for more than 100 k ...
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Downburst
In meteorology, a downburst is a strong downward and outward gushing wind system that emanates from a point source above and blows radially, that is, in straight lines in all directions from the area of impact at surface level. Capable of producing damaging winds, it may sometimes be confused with a tornado, where high-velocity winds circle a central area, and air moves inward and upward. These usually last for seconds to minutes. Downbursts are particularly strong downdrafts within thunderstorms (or deep, moist convection as sometimes downbursts emanate from cumulonimbus or even cumulus congestus clouds that are not producing lightning). Downbursts are most often created by an area of significantly precipitation-cooled air that, after reaching the surface ( subsiding), spreads out in all directions producing strong winds. Dry downbursts are associated with thunderstorms that exhibit very little rain, while wet downbursts are created by thunderstorms with significant amount ...
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Weather
Weather is the state of the atmosphere, describing for example the degree to which it is hot or cold, wet or dry, calm or stormy, clear or cloud cover, cloudy. On Earth, most weather phenomena occur in the lowest layer of the planet's atmosphere of Earth, atmosphere, the troposphere, just below the stratosphere. Weather refers to day-to-day temperature, precipitation, and other atmospheric conditions, whereas climate is the term for the averaging of atmospheric conditions over longer periods of time. When used without qualification, "weather" is generally understood to mean the weather of Earth. Weather is driven by atmospheric pressure, air pressure, temperature, and moisture differences between one place and another. These differences can occur due to the effect of Sun angle on climate, Sun's angle at any particular spot, which varies with latitude. The strong temperature contrast between polar and tropical air gives rise to the largest scale atmospheric circulations: the ...
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Horse Latitudes
The horse latitudes are the latitudes about 30 degrees north and south of the Equator. They are characterized by sunny skies, calm winds, and very little precipitation. They are also known as subtropical ridges, or highs. It is a high-pressure area at the divergence of trade winds and the westerlies. Origin of the term A likely and documented explanation is that the term is derived from the "dead horse" ritual of seamen (see Beating a dead horse). In this practice, the seaman paraded a straw-stuffed effigy of a horse around the deck before throwing it overboard. Seamen were paid partly in advance before a long voyage, and they frequently spent their pay all at once, resulting in a period of time without income. If they got advances from the ship's paymaster, they would incur debt. This period was called the "dead horse" time, and it usually lasted a month or two. The seaman's ceremony was to celebrate having worked off the "dead horse" debt. As west-bound shipping from Europe ...
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High-pressure Area
A high-pressure area, high, or anticyclone, is an area near the surface of a planet where the atmospheric pressure is greater than the pressure in the surrounding regions. Highs are middle-scale meteorological features that result from interplays between the relatively larger-scale dynamics of an entire planet's atmospheric circulation. The strongest high-pressure areas result from masses of cold air which spread out from polar regions into cool neighboring regions. These highs weaken once they extend out over warmer bodies of water. Weaker—but more frequently occurring—are high-pressure areas caused by atmospheric subsidence: Air becomes cool enough to precipitate out its water vapor, and large masses of cooler, drier air descend from above. Within high-pressure areas, winds flow from where the pressure is highest, at the center of the area, toward the periphery where the pressure is lower. However, if the planet is rotating, the straight direction of the air flow ...
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