Meteorology 101

Don't not try this at home folks …

Something I have been thinking about whilst absent:

Today there is no reason why anyone capable of learning the "science routines" of a British school can not understand the weather.

It is all really simple physics with the added bonus that it can even be taught to dyslexics; there are so many self explanatory and pretty pictures online these days.

Some of the resources such as Earth Observatory articles date back to the early days of satellite research. Articles on there date back to 1998, I think and will bring you up to scratch about things like global warming (discussed by Benjamin Franklin) glacier melt (observed even before his era) and temperature changes in the sub arctic waters.

It’s articles on the atmosphere oscillations over the Atlantic, Pacific and Arctic are superb.

Online resources such as Wikipedia will bring you up to spec with such things as Newton’s “Mathematical Principles..” Check out what it has to say about tides and the precepts he set out in the first book.

Then consider what that also means for idiocies like Coriolis and what the illustrious have to say about Atmospheric science in the Encyclopaedia Britannica. But if Newton cold hang himself in his own work, what hope would mere minions have?

The earth is bound in planet streams called Rossby Waves after the infamous Japanese scientist who lost the war. The most famous stream to date is the Gulf Stream which carries some (IIRC) 25 million cubic tons an hour past the Carolinas in North America.

(Consider how such a broad sweep could imbibe enough solar energy between the Cape Verdi Islands (is it?) to whirl up a force 4 hurricane before it reaches western shores at 15 miles per hour.)

These streams carry heat above our heads from the Equator to the Poles notably in Summer when the North Pole has full time sun and the tropics only get the minimum 12 per day.

There is a cycle that resembles our fist. Make one and look at the back of your hand. Hold it out so you can only see the last knuckles on your fingers. That’s an idealised picture to scale of the Hadley, Ferrel and I forget the name of the other Low pressure one. The almost invisible finger, the pinky, is the Polar High. Between each, the upper cyclones can be found.

These obey the same rules as the Gulf Stream and the Kushiro current. There is even an equatorial counter current I believe. When the physics of the water in the air is good enough, they break out into the Jet streams following the Rossby wave system.

Various models can be found on PDF showing the lives of these systems. They seem to resemble Jupiter’s Red Spot. Probably earth will have one from time to time as the Rossby waves break up around the Icelandic Low the atmospheric centre of gravity between the northern continents.

They tend to break up into a pentagram if my research leads me correctly. I have no idea how they explain it. What useful resources online detail the currents tend to warble off into calculousy.

The UCAR (is it?) universities that specialise in meteorology in the USA put out a tremendous amount of detailed maps. That you can watch daily. They will give you an inkling day by day about what is happening at ground level. European sites will give you upper air stuff if you wish to follow that over the N Atlantic.

Such resources were far more than FitzRoy had and he seemed to manage till the stress did for him.

Speaking of the inventor of meteorology; you can get a lot of his stuff from project Gutenberg. There is something on there too that seems to detail the behaviour of the upper atmosphere though he had a bit of a problem reconciling it with Newton’s mechanics:

Outlines of a Mechanical Theory of Storms

OUTLINES OF A MECHANICAL THEORY OF STORMS,

CONTAINING

THE TRUE LAW OF LUNAR INFLUENCE,

WITH

PRACTICAL INSTRUCTIONS TO THE NAVIGATOR, TO ENABLE HIM
APPROXIMATELY TO CALCULATE THE COMING
CHANGES OF THE WIND AND WEATHER,
FOR ANY GIVEN DAY, AND FOR
ANY PART OF THE OCEAN.
BY T. BASSNETT.

Beyond me I’m afraid. I’d had enough before it got interesting. Try starting at the bottom and working backwards. (I wish I had.)

I'm going to get that latest Newton edition. That old stuff is really hard going. FitzRoys stuff is readable as ever. But then I am a bit strange. (He's a godkin though.)

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One thought on “Meteorology 101

  1. I just got a book from the library called the Idiots Guide to Weather.I haven't looked at it yet. Shortly afterwards I found a copy of the Idiots Guide to ME. A sort of Windows 98 really, actually for idiots.ME (Windows Millenium Edition) was to FAT what Vista is to NT formatted operating systems.But it takes all sorts.

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