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Old 02-27-2016, 09:22 AM   #1
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Why is the weather worse in the winter?

I'm no weather expert, as the question suggests, but I've always wondered exactly WHY the weather is worse in the winter than in the summer. And I'm not talking about the temperature - I understand that part. For boating I think it's essentially about the winds, which drive waves, which makes boating unpleasant. I'm sure it has to do with highs and lows since that's what causes wind, but why more in the winter?

So why, meteorologically speaking, is the weather consistently worse in the winter? Or is it even? Hopefully our own resident expert, Wwx, can shed some light?
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Old 02-27-2016, 10:40 AM   #2
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Winds are caused by pressure differences.
Pressure diff is caused my density diff
Density diff is caused by temperature diff

In winter, the temperature differences are far bigger, probably double.

Think of summer, a very hot day is 100F, a cold summer day is maybe 50 to 60F, Delta is 50 degrees.

In Winter a hot winter day is maybe 60F (though even hotter in the south), but a cold winter day is below zero, well below, so delta is 100 degrees.

This provides much more energy for Lows. In addition, the vertical profile is also reduced in that the winter troposphere may only extend to half the height it does in summer.

And in combination, the Jet Stream moves north in the summer and south in the winter.

Therefore these density differences are further enhanced in a more shallow atmosphere.

Lastly, the rotation of the Earth, happens to enhance the Pressure gradient Force in Low pressure systems and has the opposite effect in Highs. Therefore with the same pressure gradient, the winds are stronger around a Low than a High.

Thus we can cross oceans in the summer because even the strongest lows will only be so strong.

Hope this helps.
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Old 02-27-2016, 10:53 AM   #3
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I knew you would chime -thanks.

When you look at the deltas, over how large an area do you compare temps when considering the weather in any particular location? Are we talking about the differences between temps in Florida and temps in Maine? Or the difference between New York and Maine. I'm sure it all relates, but we just went from a 2-3 day stink of a blow here in Gloucester to a placid calm day. How wide a sphere of influence would cause that?

I really need to learn this, and I've got a pretty good book, but there is a 3 page section where every time I sit down to read it I fall asleep. I'm usually pretty attentive with stuff like this, but for some reason....
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Old 02-27-2016, 10:56 AM   #4
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Greetings,
It's all Al Gore's fault...

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Old 02-27-2016, 12:26 PM   #5
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Yes.

It ALL matters.

The Arctic to Tropical differential is a big part of it. The density differences between northern Canada and the tropics is so significant. That cold, dense air is trying to get south.

In the old days, when I got my degree, it was considered that the northern and southern hemispheres do not interact significantly.

In the 1980's people started to understand that the Antarctica continent is such a large pool of extremely cold air that it significantly impacts the the NH, but only during the height of our summer.

The other 9 months of the year, the NH weather is affected by our own pool of cold air over the Arctic Ocean.

That's why a ice free Arctic ocean will affect our weather considerably.

Now, at the local level, you have been under the influence of that large low now east of Newfoundland and with the passage of the cold front, it allowed that ridge of high pressure to calm your weather down.

http://www.opc.ncep.noaa.gov/UA/USA_East.gif
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Old 02-27-2016, 12:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by twistedtree View Post
So why, meteorologically speaking, is the weather consistently worse in the winter? Or is it even?
Well, it is all relative. In AZ, I much prefer the calm winter weather to the windy springs and long hot summers punctuated by ferocious monsoons. Florida similar with great winter weather and not so much fun in hurricane season.

When we lived in Utah we loved going to the PNW in the winter to enjoy much better weather.

Speaking of hurricanes, I've spent time in West Africa working, terrible muggy and wet storm laden summers. Mexico, wow the worst rains and winds I have seen have been in the summer as temperatures rise and hurricanes approach from both east and west..

Or in the mid tropics where it seems weather in the winter is calmer than the heat stoked summers.

Winter in the far North can be very tranquil as bugs are gone.

But as you near the poles, as Richard says, other things begin to hold court.

The best weather book for mariners I have read is Dashew's. Written by a mariner and boat builder who has cruised more non military miles around the world than likely anyone in the past few centuries.
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Old 02-27-2016, 01:21 PM   #7
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The best weather book for mariners I have read is Dashew's. Written by a mariner and boat builder who has cruised more non military miles around the world than likely anyone in the past few centuries.
You can get a free download of the book here. FREE Downloads of Dashew Books
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Old 02-27-2016, 01:39 PM   #8
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THis is the NWS site for the current surface anaylsis
Ocean Prediction Center

I would take panel that applies to wherever you are and get in the habit of looking at it a very day.

It's the best, easiest way to get a feel for the weather and correlate with how it's depicted on weather charts.

Weather books in and of themselves are either too dense or too simple.
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Old 02-27-2016, 01:44 PM   #9
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Correct me if wrong Richard...but aren't there seasonably persistent highs that develop (such as the "Bermuda High") and going where they are you will find more tranquil conditions...say the NA desert region in winter...Mid Atlantic in summer.

Isn't there a high someplace in the polar area that moves and dominates areas for long periods ?(seemed like the high Bering Sea in Feb. had long periods of blue skies and light winds when we broke ice up there)
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Old 02-27-2016, 02:08 PM   #10
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Yes. There are those features.

I have not looked into it, but my guess is that the Bermuda high sets up and stays precisely because the jet stream has moved further north, keeping the Lows moving west to east north of it.

It also has to do with the long range Rossby Waves that set up in the atmosphere.



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Old 02-27-2016, 02:09 PM   #11
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Yes. There are those features.

I have not looked into it, but my guess is that the Bermuda high sets up and stays precisely because the jet stream has moved further north, keeping the Lows moving west to east north of it.

It also has to do with the long range Rossby Waves that set up in the atmosphere.

It's the combination of High over Bermuda and Low going further north that also make crossing the N. Atlantic best in summer.

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Old 02-27-2016, 02:26 PM   #12
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Thanks...

And no I am not suggesting anyone looking for calmer weather try the high Bering Sea in Feb.....
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Old 02-27-2016, 03:36 PM   #13
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You can get a free download of the book here. FREE Downloads of Dashew Books
I just downloaded both books, many thanks for the great link !
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Old 02-28-2016, 03:05 PM   #14
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My Bride, a retired Navy meteorologist, has been reading this book:

Modern Marine Weather: From Time Honored Maritime Traditions to the Latest Technology, 2nd Edition
David Burch, Tobias Burch

and says she really likes it for the style (very readable) and the information. Interestingly enough she is currently teaching the USPS weather course and is recommending this book to the students.

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Old 02-28-2016, 03:15 PM   #15
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Thanks for the interesting information. I found it on Amazon and will order it :
http://www.amazon.com/Modern-Marine-.../dp/B00BZDR2XE
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Old 02-28-2016, 03:34 PM   #16
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The USPS.org has a decent introduction to weather course.
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Old 02-28-2016, 04:34 PM   #17
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Wx Resources

Quote:
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The USPS.org has a decent introduction to weather course.
Agree w/ bayview the USPS Wx Course is a great intro to the topic for those interested.

The USPS course book is based on the USA Today Weather Book which is a good resource for those not interested / able to take advantage of the USPS offering.
It is readable by the layman and includes many good graphics.

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Old 02-28-2016, 09:06 PM   #18
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My Bride, a retired Navy meteorologist, has been reading this book:

Modern Marine Weather: From Time Honored Maritime Traditions to the Latest Technology, 2nd Edition
David Burch, Tobias Burch

and says she really likes it for the style (very readable) and the information. Interestingly enough she is currently teaching the USPS weather course and is recommending this book to the students.

Marty
That's the one I've been reading.
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