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Questions for Claire

Archives: June

It is said that the Jet is at approx 30,000 ft. However, I have never heard how "thick" or how "wide" the jet stream can be??

Monday, June 23, 2008 | 07:17 PM PT

Question submitted by Terry Bolton (Salt Spring Island)

Terry, you will notice that I do not use the jet stream very much on my weather presentations! I strongly believe that it is a term that is often over-used and also frequently used misleadingly. It is basically a 'ribbon' thin layer of very fast moving air aloft. However to refer to the jet stream singularly is incorrect. Basically there are many ribbons of fast moving air above the earth. Some of these ribbons become more pronounced and can force very large weather systems (that extend deep into the atmosphere) to move around.

The NOVA online web site has a great discussion on the existance of jet streams:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/vanished/jetstream.html

This spring has been really cold... why is that? Will next year be warmer, or is this a new trend?

Sunday, June 22, 2008 | 08:53 PM PT

Question submitted by Meg (New Westminster)

I get so many questions about the "state of our weather" and whether or not we can expect a "warmer or sunnier" summer. Unfortunately these questions are far more difficult to answer than they seem.

There's an old saying in the "weather industry" that states the following.. "weather is what you get, climate is what you want". Generally most of us would like see seasonal average temperatures and weather during any time of the year, but that simply isn't likely. The atmosphere is a fluid and carries too many variations within it for us to really hope to get seasonal weather all the time.

As far as forecasting for the seasons goes, well, to be quite honest, we're horrendously bad at it. We barely have a fundamental grasp of all the forcing agents at work on short term weather, so much so that our long range forecasts are often grossly misleading. That being said, Environment Canada does issue 'seasonal outlooks'. You can check them out at the following:

http://www.weatheroffice.gc.ca/saisons/index_e.html