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Questions for Claire

Archives: July

It has been recently stated that BC was undergoing a heat wave. However, it doesn't appear to be happening here. Apparently, the average temperature in Northern BC is below average?!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008 | 05:54 PM PT

Question submitted by Jake Van der Meer
(Prince Rupert)

Jake.. first off remember that "heat waves" are defined as merely 3 or more days with temperatures coming in 7-10 deg C above seasonal. Furthermore, the heat wave to which you are referring may not have been written explicitly in reference to Prince Rupert. I have done some quick checking and it turns out that May was indeed a slightly warmer than seasonal month for you with an average high temperature coming in at 12.7 deg C versus 12.3 deg C as a normal. However both June and July have come in below seasonal.

To check up on your own local climate conditions, go to the following web site.

Is it at all conceivable that we can somehow extract some of the extremely cold temperatures from our upper atmosphere to re-cool our Polar Regions?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008 | 05:28 PM PT

Question submitted by Gary

Gary.. first off I'm adding the rest of your question here:
"I understand that the city of Toronto is running water pipes deep into the Great Lakes to serve as Air Conditioning for Business Towers...this is probably far fetched, but in the future could we not envisage super light carbon conduit materials that can be held aloft by a series of (solar powered) satellite space anchors that draw surface air into a super-chilled atmosphere and return the cold air back to the polar caps....sci-fi (for sure)?!"

This is such a great question.. but yes a little far fetched. The biggest issue with all this is in regards to the inability to transfer fluids/gasses/energy through very different layers of the atmosphere without losing much of the attributes of the actual fluid/gas/energy (simply put) to friction.

If we could get around this "loss through dispersal" effect, then I think something like ground level ozone (a real problem for us) would be the first gas we would need to "move". We could simply extract it and pump it back into those regions in the atmosphere undergoing ozone depletion!!

What factor would keep Hurricane Bertha anchored for three days in the same position and, pushing to the north all eastbound weather?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008 | 05:23 PM PT

Question submitted by Andrew Goudey

Andrew, Bertha is encountering an area of rather weak steering winds at high altitudes and a surface area of high pressure to the north, meaning that the forward motion of the storm is severely limited.
For really great discussions on Atlantic Hurricanes, their forecasts and potential tracks, you should check out the following:
and read the "forecast discussion" from that link.. it'll give you great insight as to where the forecasters think the storms are going.

I'm aware the Coriolis Effect drives low pressure systems counter clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere. So, is this why drains tend to drain counter clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the South?

Monday, July 7, 2008 | 05:22 PM PT

Question submitted by Sean (Kamloops)

In physics, the Coriolis effect is an apparent deflection of moving objects when they are viewed from a rotating frame of reference.

In a meteorological frame of reference, as air moves from high to low pressure in the northern hemisphere, it is deflected to the right by the Coriolis force. In the southern hemisphere, air moving from high to low pressure is deflected to the left by the Coriolis force.

The amount of deflection the air makes is directly related to both the speed at which the air is moving and its latitude. Therefore, slowly blowing winds will be deflected only a small amount, while stronger winds will be deflected more. Likewise, winds blowing closer to the poles will be deflected more than winds at the same speed closer to the equator. The Coriolis force is zero right at the equator.

When talking about a fluid in a toilet bowl however, the Coriolis force is completely overcome by the local mechanisms that start the water swirling in the bowl. It is a common misconception that water will flow down a drain or a toilet in a direction depending purely on the Coriolis force.

I thought temperature drops as you travel North, so why is Fairbanks Alaska sometimes warmer during June and July nights than many places in BC?

Tuesday, July 1, 2008 | 05:26 PM PT

Question submitted by Justin Price (Vernon)

Essentially, Justin, if we didn't have an atmosphere and the earth simply spun around the sun as it does right now, then the poles would be very cold and the equtorial regions hot and the temperature would linearly fall off as you moved from the equator to the poles. However, thank heavens (!), we have an atmosphere and that atmospheric fluid allows for eddies and bubbles of heat to travel much farther poleward than you would expect. When the weather in the north (Alaska, Yukon for example) is much warmer than the south (interior of BC even) it is simply because the motion of the atmospheric fluid is carrying waves of warm atmosphere to these regions. As a forecaster, this is one of those times where the jet stream is a big player. That thin (see below) ribbon of very fast moving air at high altitudes will have migrated north, allowing those bubbles or pools of warm air to travel north. The warm air will linger in those northern regions until the jet stream falls south again.