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Name: Joye
Status: N/A
Grade: 6-8
Location: VA
Country: N/A
Date: 1/20/2005


Question:
How does heat transfer effect the global winds?


Replies:
Joye,

Temperature and pressure gradients (changes with distance in the horizontal or vertical), and the transfer of energy resulting from, them control most of the atmospheric motions. So heat transfer (from hot to cooler areas) is very important. A good example is a large horizontal temperature gradient that might occur in Autumn or early Spring, with cold air from Canada and warm air from the southern United States colliding in the middle of the USA; this typically produces very high winds and sometimes a strong cold front with large thunderstorms.

Large pressure gradients and temperature gradients tend to occur at the same time (although not necessarily in exactly the same place), since pressure is affected by temperature. A strong gradient of pressure alone will produce high winds.

David R. Cook
Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry Section
Environmental Research Division
Argonne National Laboratory


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