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UNIT 8

UPPER-AIR CHARTS AND THEIR ANALYSIS

FOREWORD

As important as the surface chart is in providing a picture of weather over an area, it is one dimensional. The surface chart, in conjunction with upper-air charts, provides us with the most complete picture possible of the three-dimensional distribution of wind and temperature in the atmosphere.

An accurate and complete analysis of all data (surface and upper air) does not guarantee a successful prognosis or forecast, but it definitely improves one’s chances. As an analyst, you are much more than one who draws charts. You must be able to think, reason, and deduce from your products. Relating the weather aloft to that occurring at the surface is absolutely essential in understanding the processes working within the atmosphere. When you have concluded this unit, I hope you will have gained an understanding of upper-air charts and the insight required to become a successful analyst. This unit consists of five lessons. Lesson 1 covers upper-air analysis of constant-pressure charts and other types of supplementary analyses. Lesson 2 discusses the uses of constant-pressure charts. Lesson 3 discusses atmospheric circulation patterns and their appearance on upper-air charts. Lesson 4 relates the effects and importance of convergence and divergence, and Lesson 5 discusses the effects of rotational motion (vorticity) in the atmosphere.

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