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Jet Stream

The jet stream is a narrow, shallow, fast flowing air current. The winds are, by definition in excess of 50 kt. Jet streams can form at low level, although high level jets are stronger. Of the high level jets, it is the mid latitude jets that generally have higher wind speeds than ones in or near the tropics. The wind speeds are also stronger in winter than in summer.

The jet stream typically occurs in a break in the tropopause. This is because the two air masses with differing temperatures meet, with the resulting pressure differential creating wind. The coriolis effect deflects the wind, causing it to flow along the boundary of the air masses.

The rate of decrease of wind speed is greater on the polar side of the jet stream than on the equatorial side. Hence the shear is greater, and more significant turbulence can be anticipated.

Categories: Meteorology

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