Department of Energy Argonne National Laboratory Office of Science NEWTON's Homepage NEWTON's Homepage
NEWTON, Ask A Scientist!
NEWTON Home Page NEWTON Teachers Visit Our Archives Ask A Question How To Ask A Question Question of the Week Our Expert Scientists Volunteer at NEWTON! Frequently Asked Questions Referencing NEWTON About NEWTON About Ask A Scientist Education At Argonne California Clouds
Name: Vicki
Status: Educator
Age: 40s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A 


Question:
What are the dynamics behind the night and morning low clouds seen along the southern California coast?
I understand that the sea breeze advects moisture inland, but why this particular stratus pattern and why an intensification around the summer solstice (our June gloom)?
How does this local weather pattern relate to the Pacific anticyclone?



Replies:
Vicki,

Your greatest period of cloudiness is winter through early June, mostly a result of the effects of the California current, which begins close to the central Pacific Ocean and flows NE and then north along the southern California coast. Cool air is advected, mixed, and lifted just enough to produce shallow stratus and stratocumulus clouds along the extent of the current. The Pacific anticyclone appears to play a minor part. These clouds back off of the mainland in the daytime as the air over the land warms and expands (more of less pushing air, and the clouds, offshore). At night, the air over the land cools and the clouds can spread back over the land.

David cook



Click here to return to the Environmental and Earth Science Archives

NEWTON is an electronic community for Science, Math, and Computer Science K-12 Educators, sponsored and operated by Argonne National Laboratory's Educational Programs, Andrew Skipor, Ph.D., Head of Educational Programs.

For assistance with NEWTON contact a System Operator (help@newton.dep.anl.gov), or at Argonne's Educational Programs

NEWTON AND ASK A SCIENTIST
Educational Programs
Building 360
9700 S. Cass Ave.
Argonne, Illinois
60439-4845, USA
Update: June 2012
Weclome To Newton

Argonne National Laboratory