Monday, October 22, 2007

Santa Ana Winds and Wildfires in California

You've probably read or heard about the wildfires in California (if not, read this). The fires are being fanned by the hot, dry, "Santa Ana Winds" that come down off of the mountains east of the coast. As the already dry air descends, it is compressed and its temperature rises. Read about the Santa Ana Winds here and here is a great site that tells a little about the winds and has some great animations of how the winds grow and strengthen. A little complicated, maybe, but really interesting. Here are some links to maps that show the pressure system responsible: (this one surprised me....look at the gradients in Montana and northern Mexico. It's got a map of the wind field, too, but it's a little hard to read.)

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