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Ch 5 – Vertical Motion & Stability Introduction Introduction –In the previous chapter, we concentrated on the causes and characteristics of the wind;

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Presentation on theme: "Ch 5 – Vertical Motion & Stability Introduction Introduction –In the previous chapter, we concentrated on the causes and characteristics of the wind;"— Presentation transcript:

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2 Ch 5 – Vertical Motion & Stability

3 Introduction Introduction –In the previous chapter, we concentrated on the causes and characteristics of the wind; that is, the horizontal part of three- dimensional atmospheric motions. –In this chapter, we examine vertical atmospheric motions. –Although vertical motions are often so small that they are not felt by the pilot, they are still important in aviation weather (Lester, 2006).

4 Ch 5 – Vertical Motion & Stability Introduction Introduction –Very slow upward motions play a key role in the production of clouds and precipitation, and therefore, in the creation of flight hazards, such as poor visibilities, low ceilings, and icing. –Gentle downward motions dissipate clouds and contribute to fair weather. –Also, the atmosphere is not limited to weak vertical movements (Lester, 2006).

5 Ch 5 – Vertical Motion & Stability Introduction Introduction –Occasionally, turbulent upward and downward motions are large enough to cause injury, damage, and loss of aircraft control. –Clearly, understanding the nature of vertical motions is a useful addition to your aviation weather knowledge. –When you complete this chapter, you will understand not only how vertical motions are produced, but also what the important effects of atmospheric stability are on those motions (Lester, 2006).

6 Ch 5 – Vertical Motion & Stability Section A – Vertical Motions Section A – Vertical Motions Section B – Stability Section B – Stability Section C – Stability and Vertical Motions Section C – Stability and Vertical Motions

7 Ch 5 – Vertical Motion & Stability Section A: Vertical Motions – when an air parcel moves from one location to another, it typically has a horizontal component (wind) and a vertical component (vertical motion) Section A: Vertical Motions – when an air parcel moves from one location to another, it typically has a horizontal component (wind) and a vertical component (vertical motion) –Causes – air may move upward or downward for a number of reasons the most frequent causes are convergence and divergence, orography, fronts and convection the most frequent causes are convergence and divergence, orography, fronts and convection

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9 Ch 5 – Vertical Motion & Stability Convergence / Divergence Convergence / Divergence –Convergence – corresponds to a net inflow of air into a given area it may occur when wind speed slows down in the direction of flow and/or when opposing airstreams meet; figure 5-2 it may occur when wind speed slows down in the direction of flow and/or when opposing airstreams meet; figure 5-2 –Divergence – the net outflow from a given area winds may diverge when the wind speed increases in the direction of the flow and/or when an air stream spreads out in the downstream direction; figure 5-2 winds may diverge when the wind speed increases in the direction of the flow and/or when an air stream spreads out in the downstream direction; figure 5-2

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11 Ch 5 – Vertical Motion & Stability ***Embedded thunderstorms are obscured by massive cloud layers and cannot be seen ***Embedded thunderstorms are obscured by massive cloud layers and cannot be seen

12 Ch 5 – Vertical Motion & Stability Orography – air can be forced upward or downward when it encounters a barrier Orography – air can be forced upward or downward when it encounters a barrier –a simple example is orographic lifting when wind intersects a mountain or hill, it is simply pushed upward when wind intersects a mountain or hill, it is simply pushed upward on the down-wind or lee side of the mountain, air moves downward on the down-wind or lee side of the mountain, air moves downward

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14 Ch 5 – Vertical Motion & Stability Fronts – when the atmosphere itself creates an obstacle to the wind, a barrier effect similar to a mountain can be produced Fronts – when the atmosphere itself creates an obstacle to the wind, a barrier effect similar to a mountain can be produced –when a cold air mass is next to a warm air mass, a narrow, sloping boundary is created between the two called a front Frontal lifting – if either air mass moves toward the other, the warm air moves upward over the cold, dense air mass in a process called frontal lifting or in some special cases overrunning Frontal lifting – if either air mass moves toward the other, the warm air moves upward over the cold, dense air mass in a process called frontal lifting or in some special cases overrunning

15 Ch 5 – Vertical Motion & Stability Convection Convection –Convective lifting – as bubbles of warm air rise in the convective lifting process, the surrounding air sinks; figure 5-6 and occurs under unstable atmospheric conditions

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17 Ch 5 – Vertical Motion & Stability Mechanical Turbulence – Figure 5-7; chaotic eddies are swept along with the wind, producing downward motions on their downwind side and upward motions on their upwind side Mechanical Turbulence – Figure 5-7; chaotic eddies are swept along with the wind, producing downward motions on their downwind side and upward motions on their upwind side –rough air experienced when landing on windy days is caused by these small scale circulations

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19 Ch 5 – Vertical Motion & Stability Gravity Wave Motions – under certain circumstances, air may be disturbed by small scale wave motions Gravity Wave Motions – under certain circumstances, air may be disturbed by small scale wave motions –that is, parcels of air may be caused to oscillate vertically; figure 5-8 –such oscillations that move away from the source of the disturbance are called atmospheric gravity waves because the earth’s gravity plays an important role in producing them –a mountain wave is one type of gravity wave

20 Ch 5 – Vertical Motion & Stability Section B: Stability – a stable system may be defined as one that, if displaced or distorted, tends to return to its original location and/or configuration Section B: Stability – a stable system may be defined as one that, if displaced or distorted, tends to return to its original location and/or configuration –an unstable system is one that tends to move away from its original position, once it has been displaced or distorted –a system with neutral stability remains in its new position if displaced or distorted; figure 5-9

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22 Ch 5 – Vertical Motion & Stability Atmospheric Stability – a condition that makes it difficult for air parcels to move upward or downward Atmospheric Stability – a condition that makes it difficult for air parcels to move upward or downward –atmospheric instability is a condition that promotes vertical motions

23 Ch 5 – Vertical Motion & Stability –Buoyancy – the property of an object that allows it to float on the surface of a liquid, or ascend through and remain freely suspend in a compressible fluid such as the atmosphere

24 Ch 5 – Vertical Motion & Stability –Archimedes’ Principle – when an object is placed in a fluid (liquid or gas), it will be subjected to a positive (upward) or negative (downward) force depending on whether the object weighs more or less than the fluid it displaces can be thought of as the bowling ball / balsa wood-in-the-bucket-of-water concept; figure 5-11 can be thought of as the bowling ball / balsa wood-in-the-bucket-of-water concept; figure 5-11

25 Ch 5 – Vertical Motion & Stability –Positively buoyant – if a parcel of air is displaced upward and becomes warmer than its surroundings, it is positively buoyant it will accelerate upward (away from its original position); it is unstable it will accelerate upward (away from its original position); it is unstable –Negatively buoyant – if a parcel of air is displaced upward and is colder than its surroundings, it is negatively buoyant it will be accelerated downward (back to its original position); it is stable it will be accelerated downward (back to its original position); it is stable

26 Ch 5 – Vertical Motion & Stability Determining Atmospheric Stability – there are three basic concepts that help determine stability Determining Atmospheric Stability – there are three basic concepts that help determine stability –the dry adiabatic process, atmospheric soundings and lapse rates Dry adiabatic process – cooling by expansion and warming by compression Dry adiabatic process – cooling by expansion and warming by compression

27 Ch 5 – Vertical Motion & Stability Adiabatic cooling – pressure always decreases with height Adiabatic cooling – pressure always decreases with height –adiabatic cooling will always accompany upward motion Adiabatic heating – adiabatic heating will always accompany downward motion Adiabatic heating – adiabatic heating will always accompany downward motion –the rate of temperature change associated with a dry adiabatic process is a constant: 3 degrees Celsius per 1,000 feet (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit per 1,000 feet)

28 Ch 5 – Vertical Motion & Stability ***Understand (cloud-free) air flowing upslope will cool at the rate of approximately 3 degrees Celsius per 1,000 feet ***Understand (cloud-free) air flowing upslope will cool at the rate of approximately 3 degrees Celsius per 1,000 feet

29 Ch 5 – Vertical Motion & Stability Soundings – a measurement of meteorological conditions between the ground and some higher level in the atmosphere Soundings – a measurement of meteorological conditions between the ground and some higher level in the atmosphere Radiosondes – the most common meteorological soundings are made via freely rising, unmanned, instrumented balloons called radiosondes or rawinsondes Radiosondes – the most common meteorological soundings are made via freely rising, unmanned, instrumented balloons called radiosondes or rawinsondes

30 Ch 5 – Vertical Motion & Stability Lapse Rates – an important stability measurement that can be determined from a sounding Lapse Rates – an important stability measurement that can be determined from a sounding the change of temperature with altitude for a given atmospheric layer the change of temperature with altitude for a given atmospheric layer –Lapse rate (LR) = T (bottom) – T (Top) / DELZ T (bottom) = temperature at the bottom of the layer T (bottom) = temperature at the bottom of the layer T (top) = temperature at the top of the layer T (top) = temperature at the top of the layer DELZ = thickness of the layer DELZ = thickness of the layer

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32 Ch 5 – Vertical Motion & Stability Dry adiabatic lapse rate (DALR) – the rate at which the temperature of a dry parcel of air decreases as it ascends is also a useful reference in stability determinations Dry adiabatic lapse rate (DALR) – the rate at which the temperature of a dry parcel of air decreases as it ascends is also a useful reference in stability determinations –equal to 3 degrees C per 1,000 feet; figure 5-14

33 Ch 5 – Vertical Motion & Stability Isothermal layer – no change in temperature with height (LR = 0) Isothermal layer – no change in temperature with height (LR = 0) Inversion layers – temperature increases with height (LR < 0) Inversion layers – temperature increases with height (LR < 0) Surface-based inversions – often form at night and may be the source of wind shear problems Surface-based inversions – often form at night and may be the source of wind shear problems

34 Ch 5 – Vertical Motion & Stability Stability Evaluation Stability Evaluation Stability criteria; figure 5-15; figure 5-16; figure 5-17 Stability criteria; figure 5-15; figure 5-16; figure 5-17 –select the layer in the sounding in which you are interested –within the layer, compare the actual LR and DALR –determine which of the following stability criteria are satisfied LR > DALR – absolutely unstable LR > DALR – absolutely unstable LR = DALR – neutral LR = DALR – neutral LR < DALR – stable LR < DALR – stable

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36 Ch 5 – Vertical Motion & Stability Section C: Stability and Vertical Motions Section C: Stability and Vertical Motions –***A stable air mass is more likely to have smoother air than an unstable air mass –***The formation of either predominantly stratiform or predominately cumuliform clouds depends upon the stability of the air being lifted

37 Ch 5 – Vertical Motion & Stability –***Conditions favorable for the formation of a surface-based temperature inversion are clear, cool nights with calm or light winds –***The stability of an air mass is decreased by heating it from below

38 Summary Vertical motions in the atmosphere are critical for aviation because of their role in the production of turbulence, clouds, and associated phenomena. Vertical motions in the atmosphere are critical for aviation because of their role in the production of turbulence, clouds, and associated phenomena. You have learned that upward and downward motions are forced by fronts, mountains, warm surfaces, and converging and diverging airstreams (Lester, 2006). You have learned that upward and downward motions are forced by fronts, mountains, warm surfaces, and converging and diverging airstreams (Lester, 2006).

39 Summary Additionally, the resulting vertical motions are magnified or suppressed, depending on the atmospheric stability. Additionally, the resulting vertical motions are magnified or suppressed, depending on the atmospheric stability. The understanding of stability has required you to study and understand the concepts of buoyancy and the adiabatic process. The understanding of stability has required you to study and understand the concepts of buoyancy and the adiabatic process. With these tools, you have learned how atmospheric stability is evaluated by examining atmospheric temperature soundings (Lester, 2006). With these tools, you have learned how atmospheric stability is evaluated by examining atmospheric temperature soundings (Lester, 2006).

40 Ch 5 – Vertical Motion & Stability Introduction Introduction –The information in this chapter is basic to later discussions of a wide variety of topics ranging from clouds and weather of large- scale cyclones, to thunderstorms, to small- scale clear air turbulence (Lester, 2006).


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