Alaska student’s research upends understanding of upper atmospheric wind

Peer-Reviewed Publication

UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA FAIRBANKS

Space physicist Mark Conde had been seeing something curious in his atmospheric research data since the 1990s. But it was not until three years ago that he realized this odd behavior of upper-level wind was a real phenomenon and not a problem with instrumentation.

So he turned it over to his research student, Rajan Itani, who is pursuing a doctorate in physics at the University of Alaska Fairbanks.

The result: a paper authored by Itani, coauthored by Conde, and featured as an editor’s highlight recently in the American Geophysical Union magazine Eos. The magazine notes that fewer than 2% of papers receive such attention.

The paper itself was published in September in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics.

“I am delighted that our paper has been featured as an editor’s highlight in Eos,” Itani said. “It is a proud moment in my career in space physics, as it marks my first paper being promoted. I am thankful to my adviser, Dr. Mark Conde, for suggesting the research topic and for his endless support and encouragement.”

Itani confirmed that the cross-polar jet, a well-known wind in the upper atmosphere, sometimes inexplicably stops or is deflected or reversed when it reaches the region above Alaska.

The finding upends previous understanding.

Itani’s research at the UAF Geophysical Institute, with assistance from Conde and conducted mostly with data from the university’s Poker Flat Research Range, focused only on the Alaska region. But it is likely that the cross-polar jet would also stall elsewhere on the globe at high latitudes as the wind emerges from the polar cap around midnight.

Conde and Itani were studying the upper thermosphere, the region of atmosphere above 90 miles altitude. 

This cross-polar jet carries the thin air in this region over the North Pole from the Earth’s dayside to its nightside and delivers it toward the equator, where it dissipates. Sometimes, according to Itani’s research, the forces driving the wind aren’t strong enough to push it through the background atmosphere on the Earth’s night side.

“This cross-polar jet is a major, large-scale persistent feature of the upper atmospheric circulation,” said Conde, who is a professor in the UAF Department of Physics. “And stopping it like that means that the trajectories of particles carried by the wind would change dramatically.”

“All of the computer models say that this wind spills out quite some distance toward the equator and then eventually slows and blends into the background flow, just like traffic merging onto a highway,” Conde said. “There should be quite a strong flow extending far equatorward, but we find that it basically just hits a wall over Alaska on some occasions. It really should continue and spill out just like the models say.”

The finding has implications for spacecraft orbits, space debris avoidance, ionospheric storm modeling and our understanding about the transport of air in the thermosphere.

The thermosphere is far less dense, almost to a vacuum, compared to air at the Earth’s surface. And that means the occasional stalling of the cross-polar jet won’t be noticed on the surface or affect life here. 

But what causes this stalling? That hasn’t been resolved yet. Itani’s paper does offer a correlation, however: A review of seven years of data shows a “strong influence” from solar activity. Thermospheric wind stalling is most likely to occur during solar minimum, the period of low disturbance on the sun’s surface.

Conde had actually seen the wind stalling in data at various times since the late 1990s when he began studying the impact of auroral displays on thermospheric winds above Alaska.

“I was never completely sure whether what I was seeing in the data truly reflected what the atmosphere was really doing or whether it was just some weird instrumental thing,” he said. “For a long time, I couldn’t really check, because there was no other technique that could do it.

“But over the years as we’ve run multiple instruments and combined the data from those many instruments, I eventually just came to understand that what we were seeing was a real phenomenon,” he said.

Conde published a paper in 2018 that noted the thermospheric wind stalling; however, Itani’s paper expands on that work in more detail.

“Training the next generation of scientists is a major objective of the United States’ premier research institution, the National Science Foundation, which funded the work,” Conde said. “As a result, quite a bit of leading-edge research is done by graduate students. I am very pleased to see Rajan’s work in this area recognized by the American Geophysical Union.”


CONTACTS:

Rajan Itani, University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute , ritani@alaska.edu

Mark Conde, University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, 907- 474-7741, mgconde@alaska.edu.

Rod Boyce University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, 907-474-7185, rcboyce@alaska.edu


JOURNAL

Journal of Geophysical Research Space Physics

DOI

10.1029/2020JA028916 

SUBJECT OF RESEARCH

Not applicable

ARTICLE TITLE

Characterizing Unexpectedly Localized Slowing of the Thermospheric Cross-Polar Jet of Neutral Wind Over Alaska in the Midnight Sector

ARTICLE PUBLICATION DATE

1-Sep-2021

From EurekAlert!

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MARTIN BRUMBY
November 11, 2021 2:07 am

Interesting.

And must be worse than we thought!

saveenergy
Reply to  MARTIN BRUMBY
November 11, 2021 2:29 am

Ah, but some of us can think worse than you thought … & that always leads to an ‘Existential unprecedented catastrophic emergency’.

( unlike Delhi belly , which is a real catastrophic emergency !!! )

James Bull
Reply to  saveenergy
November 11, 2021 6:25 am

One of the big worries in the water industry is Cryptosporidium which is a nasty little bug that can cause what one of my training courses called Explosive Diarrhea which is not something you want to think about for too long.

James Bull

Pat from kerbob
Reply to  saveenergy
November 12, 2021 3:35 pm

My favorite was from the 2006 Winter Olympics, the canadian men’s curling team had to have the spare curl one day, when asked what happened to the missing second they said they ate out the night before and he had an “explosive lower body injury”!!!!
😀

Solomon Green
Reply to  saveenergy
November 15, 2021 2:43 pm

During the war in the Western Desert it was also known as Gippy Tummy.

D. J. Hawkins
Reply to  MARTIN BRUMBY
November 11, 2021 5:53 am

MODS, PLEASE DELETE THE ABOVE SPAM. THANKS.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  D. J. Hawkins
November 11, 2021 7:14 pm

Again, obvious spam is getting past filters and mods??

Thomas Gasloli
Reply to  MARTIN BRUMBY
November 11, 2021 7:25 am

But they forgot to implicate CO2. How dare they!😱

Red94ViperRT10
Reply to  Thomas Gasloli
November 11, 2021 9:37 am

Right. This looks like actual research, untainted by an agenda. What a novel concept!

Retired_Engineer_Jim
Reply to  Thomas Gasloli
November 11, 2021 7:12 pm

However, the research focuses on the atmosphere at 90 miles altitude and above, we’ll above the “top of the atmosphere”, so CO2 doesn’t matter.

November 11, 2021 2:16 am

Real scientific understanding is based on data, not on what the models say.

Reply to  Philip Mulholland.
November 11, 2021 5:18 pm

And this includes data that has NOT been altered by NOAA — like their temperature data.

Pamela Matlack-Klein
November 11, 2021 2:27 am

“All of the computer models say that this wind spills out quite some distance toward the equator and then eventually slows and blends into the background flow, just like traffic merging onto a highway,” Conde said. “There should be quite a strong flow extending far equatorward, but we find that it basically just hits a wall over Alaska on some occasions. It really should continue and spill out just like the models say.”

Amazing, they are questioning the readings of their instruments because the computer models contradict the actual data! When did things get turned around like this? They should be questioning the accuracy of their models!

Johanus
Reply to  Pamela Matlack-Klein
November 11, 2021 3:56 am

If you read the abstract I think you will see that the authors are criticizing the ‘standard models’ because they are too simplistic:

The standard view is that wind flows anti-sunward in the midnight sector and spills equatorward over magnetic latitudes extending well below those of the auroral zone. The purpose of this paper is to show that this view is too simplistic. 

Blame Einstein, who preferred simple models (but not too simple) over complicated models.

I am wondering if this issue is related to the QBO (quasibiennial oscillation), which is also claimed to be related to solar activity.

Pamela Matlack-Klein
Reply to  Johanus
November 11, 2021 6:55 am

Ah, I did not read the abstract, but I still question their motives. I can easily see them adding a teensy bit of complication to their model and then claiming they have fixed it.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Johanus
November 11, 2021 7:16 pm

The problem isn’t the simplicity or complexity of the models, it’s the agenda the models are forced to follow.

Johanus
Reply to  Jeff Alberts
November 12, 2021 3:46 am

Agreed.

A model is a set of definitions, assumptions and formulas which provide logical explanations to verify scientific hypotheses. Observations alone are not sufficient to conduct science. Models are necessary to explain the observations.

Since the authors did not mention ‘climate change’ (an agenda-loaded code word coined by Climatists) let us hope that their work is purely scientific.

Last edited 25 days ago by Johanus
Tim Gorman
Reply to  Johanus
November 13, 2021 4:22 am

Really? We needed a model for the speed of light rather than deducing it directly from observations? I think Ole Roemer would disagree with you.

commieBob
Reply to  Pamela Matlack-Klein
November 11, 2021 5:00 am

Actually, you should question everything. With regard to instruments, you always have to ask whether you’re actually measuring what you think you’re measuring.

It’s like taking your temperature. If you stick a thermometer under your tongue, you’ll get something like 98.6 F unless you’re running a fever. If you point an IR thermometer at your forehead, you’ll get some other number. link

Pamela Matlack-Klein
Reply to  commieBob
November 11, 2021 7:07 am

Interesting link, especially in light of how those guns were the ones used to check temperatures of people entering my local hospital. It has since been totally discontinued and they no longer bother checking temps of those entering. I never did see anyone turned away either.

I agree, instruments must always be checked to be sure they are a) accurate and b) measuring the variable that you are chiefly interested in.

AndyHce
Reply to  Pamela Matlack-Klein
November 11, 2021 11:26 am

For the general public, and often for medical instruments, it is much too expensive to calibrate and therefore is never done.

bill Johnston
Reply to  AndyHce
November 11, 2021 2:05 pm

Which is why you should refrain from doing the testing with 2 different instruments. If you come up with 2 different readings, then what? Right, borrow another instrument to double check. Been there, done that!

commieBob
Reply to  bill Johnston
November 11, 2021 4:40 pm

It’s not that hard to build your own voltage reference.

Pamela Matlack-Klein
Reply to  AndyHce
November 11, 2021 2:21 pm

So it is basically guess work.

Loren Wilson
Reply to  commieBob
November 11, 2021 12:05 pm

Bob, that’s because your forehead is not the same temperature as under your tongue. Same with your hands and feet.

commieBob
Reply to  Loren Wilson
November 11, 2021 5:06 pm

Exactly. If your intent was to measure your body temperature, …

Just because you’re using an instrument which is giving you a reading, that doesn’t mean you’ve gathered valid data.

Loren Wilson
Reply to  commieBob
November 11, 2021 7:08 pm

Correct, axial and forehead thermometers use an equation to relate the measured temperature to the core temperature which is the desired value. Only the coroner gets an accurate core temperature when he or she sticks a sharp thermometer into the dead person’s liver.

Jeff Alberts
Reply to  Loren Wilson
November 11, 2021 7:19 pm

And how does the device know whether you’ve just come in from the cold?

MarkW
Reply to  Pamela Matlack-Klein
November 11, 2021 7:33 am

They didn’t reject the data. They went and proved that the issue was not a problem with their instruments. Then they moved forward and analyzed the data.
It’s always a good move to prove that your data is solid before going against what is widely believed.

Paul of Alexandria
Reply to  Pamela Matlack-Klein
November 11, 2021 2:13 pm

This is how science is supposed to work! You make a model (theory) and test it against reality until you find places where it doesn’t work.

And yes, you first question the instruments. It’s not science unless the data is right, and the models are usually good enough that they’re not the first thing to question.

Tom
Reply to  Pamela Matlack-Klein
November 11, 2021 5:39 pm

The analogy of cars merging onto a highway is not very accurate. Cars merge onto a highway because the drivers steer them to do that. If they abruptly stop, it’s because the drivers apply the brakes. Moving air must also respond to external forces. It doesn’t just merge, or sometimes stop, unless something provides the forcing. It’s good to see original research such as this, but this one does provide more questions than answers.

November 11, 2021 2:29 am

During suns low activity, the thermosphere is shrinking, because it’s comparable cold due to reduced UV radiation.
The data are published at Spaceweather.com as TCI, at the moment stopped because of a defect in data catching.

November 11, 2021 2:32 am

I think it likely that the effect is transmitted downward and has some bearing on jet stream meridionality which affects global cloudiness and the amount of solar energy getting into the oceans.

AndyHce
Reply to  Stephen Wilde
November 11, 2021 11:29 am

“the effect”??

Joseph Zorzin
November 11, 2021 2:52 am

Off topic, sorry- but it’s worth watching: “Gender Day At COP26”
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caOshFP0Owg

one of Tony Heller’s videos

saveenergy
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
November 11, 2021 3:13 am

Very realistic movements !

James Bull
Reply to  Joseph Zorzin
November 11, 2021 6:44 am

You have got to read the comments!!!! I don’t think I found more than a couple of positive ones.

James Bull

fretslider
November 11, 2021 3:11 am

Hmm, models are loaded with guesstimates and/or assumptions, so at best they are just a rough guess with no real hope of being anywhere near accurate.

“All of the computer models say that this wind spills out quite some distance toward the equator and then eventually slows and blends into the background flow…

There should be quite a strong flow extending far equatorward, but we find that it basically just hits a wall over Alaska on some occasions.”

Which could be put as: our findings show the models are far from correct – and for the umpteenth time.

David Stone CEng
Reply to  fretslider
November 11, 2021 3:59 am

It seems to me that all these “computer models” should be called out by law. Real computer models are verified by much comparison with actual data (Engineering models), these climate ones seem never to have that work done. How lazy and useless can you get?

AndyHce
Reply to  David Stone CEng
November 11, 2021 11:31 am

lazy enough for a Nobel

MarkW
Reply to  fretslider
November 11, 2021 7:39 am

Most of the time the atmosphere behaved just as the models predicted. The problem was that on occasion, this flow was blocked over Alaska. The models did not predict this.
This doesn’t prove that the models are wrong, it’s could also mean that they are incomplete.

fretslider
Reply to  MarkW
November 11, 2021 8:20 am

“The models did not predict this”

“This doesn’t prove that the models are wrong”

If you like. An incomplete model cannot be right. Stop digging.

Last edited 26 days ago by fretslider
MarkW
Reply to  fretslider
November 11, 2021 8:22 am

It doesn’t matter what I like, it’s reality.
Being right only 90% of the time does not make one a failure.

fretslider
Reply to  MarkW
November 11, 2021 8:27 am

Bolleaux

The models are hopelessly wrong and everybody – bar you, it seems – knows it to be a fact.

MarkW
Reply to  fretslider
November 11, 2021 9:52 am

Just because you believe that all models are “hopelessly wrong”, does not make it so.
Your hatred of the misuse of GCMs has caused you to reject all models.

MAL
Reply to  MarkW
November 11, 2021 9:05 am

If you are sailing the oceans with a clock that is right 90% of the time you are lost. You have no idea where you are, its only a guess, just like a model that right 90% of the time.

Last edited 26 days ago by MAL
MarkW
Reply to  MAL
November 11, 2021 9:54 am

I don’t see how that is a valid analogy.
Being right 90% of the time would make one an A student in school.

Tim Gorman
Reply to  MarkW
November 11, 2021 10:51 am

What 90% do you think the climate models get right? They don’t match real world temps. They have predicted none of the pauses in warming. In fact, I can’t think of *any* prediction based on them that has turned out right, not polar bears, not food shortages, not desertification, not the “disappearing* Arctic ice, not NYC/Miami being underwater, etc.

Janice Moore
Reply to  Tim Gorman
November 12, 2021 10:34 am

Mr. Gorman (and some enthusiastic others 🤨),

The CO2 scammers’ climate models, based as they are on conjecture and speculation about CO2, are, indeed, unskilled, unfit for purpose, failed, computer simulations.

MarkW’s comments over the past years on WUWT make me 99.9% (smile) certain that he realizes that.

Thus, those arguing with MarkW are, unintentionally, I think, setting up and setting fire to a strawperson.

Facts (taking the liberty of speaking on MarkW’s behalf):

1. All CO2 speculation-driven climate models are, to lesser and greater (mostly, greater) degrees, unskilled, speculation-driven, propaganda tools.

2. Not all models are CO2 speculation-driven.

3. 90% accuracy in a guess about how
[t]his cross-polar jet[,] a major, large-scale persistent feature of the upper atmospheric circulation,” [(per] Conde, who is a professor in the UAF Department of Physics.[)] behaves is very good.

4. That 90% = a fail in other contexts is irrelevant.

Thus, MarkW is not advocating for CO2 speculation-driven GCM’s and doesn’t deserve the insightful-but-unfair verbal slaps he’s been given.

Finally, GOOD FOR YOU, Mr. Gorman, et al., to stand up so vigorously for the truth about the shamefully unskilled CO2-driven climate models. Keep up your great advocacy for data! 😃

Your ally for truth in science,

Janice Moore

Dave Fair
Reply to  MarkW
November 11, 2021 2:07 pm

War might be just one counter-example.

Paul of Alexandria
Reply to  fretslider
November 11, 2021 2:18 pm

Not true. That’s how science has always proceeded! You test the models until they stop being right, then you fix them. Newton’s model is right so long as you stay away from the speed of light, then Einstein’s fixes take over.

Andy Wilkins
November 11, 2021 4:19 am

Paging Dr Mann – emergency at Alaska Uni! Scientists are using real data! We need a hockey stick real fast!

There, that will fix those pesky data freaks.

roaddog
November 11, 2021 4:26 am

I’m sure Greta can explain it.

fretslider
Reply to  roaddog
November 11, 2021 4:38 am

These days her retort is usually stick it up your fundament

leowaj
Reply to  fretslider
November 11, 2021 5:36 am

Or, “blah blah blah”. A bit more appropriate from the brain of a child.

Editor
November 11, 2021 6:03 am

Congratulations to all involved. It just shows that we don’t know everything as some of our post modern climate scientists seem to believe

tonyb

Steve Case
November 11, 2021 6:18 am

Conde had actually seen the wind stalling in data at various times since the late 1990s when he began studying the impact of auroral displays on thermospheric winds above Alaska.
______________________________________

If the media reports on this the headline will be will be:

     “Wind stalling above Alaska since the late 1990s” study says.
     Climate Change suspected culprit.

James Bull
November 11, 2021 6:31 am

It’s good to see that it’s still possible to do real science at some universities.
Well done to those involved Rajan Itani for his hard work and Mark Conde for giving him the chance to do the research.

James Bull

MarkW
November 11, 2021 7:29 am

As the environmentalists keep reminding us, everything effects everything.
I wouldn’t assume that these changes in upper atmosphere wind velocity have no impact on the rest of the atmosphere.
That conclusion will have to wait for further research.

noaaprogrammer
Reply to  MarkW
November 11, 2021 9:00 pm

Are there lots of butterflies in Alaska’s upper atmosphere? … you get the drift …

mwhite
Reply to  mwhite
November 11, 2021 9:56 am
Vuk
November 11, 2021 10:01 am

“Conde and Itani were studying the upper thermosphere, the region of atmosphere above 90 miles altitude”

In polar regions this is polar vortex area of activities.
I looked at it number of times and found following factors are at play (at the time of polar winter when stratosphere cools i.e. there is no sunlight impact):
– Explosive volcanic activity sending plumes of microparticles to stratosphere i.e above 10km (SS is at low altitude at poles) from high latitudes volcanos.
– major solar storm whereby charged particles on impact charge products of volcanic eruptions.
– density of atmosphere at high latitudes is very low, approaching vacuum, so volcanic particles represent majority of the mass.
– Major solar storms charging atmospheric particles on impact.
– Charged particles are accelerated by Earth’s magnetic field, but since the field is bifurcated (two ‘poles’, one near Hudson bay and the other in Central Siberia) vortex tends to split in two minor vortexes which in the areas of near equidistance come to conflict (moving in opposite directions) and large part of original vortex comes to standstill.
– Since strong polar vortex tightly controls polar jet stream, now very much weakened vortex looses it’s impact and jet stream moves from strong circular to a weak meridional flow, which often stalls for prolonged period of time over cooler continental masses (remember this happens in the winter months) bringing severe winters to North America and N Europe.
Apologies for possible errors, typed on hend held device.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Vuk
November 11, 2021 2:52 pm

That makes sense. Can it be that simple?

A bifurcated vortex, and the two minor vortexes rotate opposite of each other, which causes a slowdown of the jet stream when they interact and causes a switch from circular jet stream flow to meridional jet stream flow.

Vuk
Reply to  Tom Abbott
November 12, 2021 3:07 am

It might be, provided two other conditions existing:
a) recent explosive volcanic eruption (Alaska, Aleuti, Kamchatka or Island)
b) medium to strong solar CME (proton shower ionising stratospheric content)
But that would mean that solar activity in combination with volcanic eruptions affects winter weather and in the long term, as a consequence, the N. Hemisphere’s climate; that wouldn’t do, far easier to blame CO2.

Tom Abbott
Reply to  Vuk
November 14, 2021 3:58 am

How does this work on the South Pole?

The magnetic field is not split at the South Pole, so is the jet stream there slowed like those at the North Pole?

I haven’t really studied the South Pole jet streams much so I’m not sure if they push towards the equator the way they do in the northern hemisphere or not.

Doonman
November 11, 2021 10:24 am

It really should continue and spill out just like the models say.

But it doesn’t and the new paper confirms that with observed measurement.

That means all the models are wrong. And when all the models are wrong, they are not fit for purpose.

markl
November 11, 2021 10:40 am

So what’s new? The original models didn’t fit their narrative so they made new models/parameters to prove their bias. See how that works!

Loren Wilson
November 11, 2021 12:03 pm

Of course it stops for no apparent reason. That’s where our weather machine is.

November 11, 2021 12:30 pm

I have a problem with the word “midnight” frequently used in the paper. When exactly there is midnight at the North Pole? And what is a “magnetic midnight”?

They probably want to say “away from the Sun”. Is that a summer-only wind, or does it blow also in winter, when there is no sun there?

H.R.
Reply to  Curious George
November 11, 2021 2:22 pm

That, and a few other things were why I couldn’t give two thumbs up, in my comment above, Curious George. I don’t disagree that there were some puzzlers to me in there.

I don’t know if all that is just well known in the biz or if it’s in one of the references.

H.R.
Reply to  H.R.
November 11, 2021 2:23 pm

Hmmm… “comment below”. I guess yours posted first.

H.R.
November 11, 2021 12:44 pm

This is some decent work. I’ll give it a solid 👍 and maybe someone else will give it another one.

I typically read the abstracts of papers in the articles, but I usually skip the entire paper -obviously if paywalled – except when something really catches my interest. I was interested in this one and read the paper.

Itani did a good job of staying in his lane. Twice (3 times?) he made clear that they were only characterizing the stalling.

The models didn’t show stalling. Professor Conde saw the stalling and wasn’t quite sure it was a real thing. He turned Itani loose and Itani showed the stalling was a real phenomenon and also showed that it wasn’t necessarily stalling at roughly the same place.

Other than noting some association with the Aurora, he didn’t indulge in speculation and left the ‘w’hy ‘ for further study. (Of course! More funding needed. 😁)

It’s also a very readable paper and not too long. Somebody on that team is a decent writer.

I’m looking forward to Itani going after the ‘why’. You know he’ll be pressured to find it’s CO2 and ‘Climate Change’ wot dunnit, I think Itani just might avoid that pitfall.

navy bob
November 11, 2021 2:50 pm

Who teaches these people to write, if anyone? The press release lead doesn’t appear until the sixth paragraph, after 176 words about how he turned it over to a grad student and how great it was to get a paper published as an editor’s highlight, things most readers care little about.

MDN
November 11, 2021 4:07 pm

Models are great, but as this research proves they do not always reflect reality. And so you need to be skeptical and take what they tell you with a grain of salt until you fully understand their utility.

Take aerodynamic design codes as a related example, tools that now allow an airplane to be designed in virtual reality that we know with very high confidence will fly and perform exactly as we expect. But ONLY in well behaved flight where the tools work well. And that achieved only after 50 years of recursive refinement where codes were endlessly tested and calibrated against physical wind tunnel models.

But if you venture beyond well behaved commercial aircrsft type flight into high angles of attack, wind shear, and other complexities then all bets are off, and the models cannot identify many problems, and I suspect for the same reason that climate models are incomplete, and that is turbulent flow

We simply are not able to model turbulence over any appreciable time scale. And the atmosphere and ocean currents are riddled with the stuff and that’s all there is to it. So the models can be useful tools for “well behaved” conditions, but are essentially useless when the chaos of reality comes into play.

Here is a fascinating video on turbulence if you are interested. The Heisenberg quote at the beginning really says it all:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=PMerSm2ToFY

Reply to  MDN
November 11, 2021 5:24 pm

Golf balls are dimpled, because they fly further than smooth balls. Why are airplane wings still smooth?

noaaprogrammer
Reply to  Curious George
November 11, 2021 9:26 pm
Pat from kerbob
Reply to  Curious George
November 12, 2021 3:38 pm

The Russian MiG 29 has dimples

gowest
November 11, 2021 8:59 pm

If the airflow is “stalling” does that mean the pole is cooling – ie the aircon is stalling… Could explain GSMs cooling effect?

Doug S
November 11, 2021 9:09 pm

Good Physics or at least, makes the mind think. Implies to me a magnetic coupling of the earth to the sun.

Captain climate
November 12, 2021 5:02 am

I like this. Pure science of a phenomenon with no politics.

November 13, 2021 7:25 am

“There should be quite a strong flow extending far equatorward, but we find that it basically just hits a wall over Alaska on some occasions. It really should continue and spill out just like the models say.”

Repeat after us: ‘Models are some programmer’s assumptions with short cut calculations, not reality!’

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