December 5, 2010

My Six Month Leave is Over, and Unvailing a New Posting Formatt

Gosh, has it really been 6 months since my last post? It's been a busy 6 months at work and with my flying. The end of the soaring season left me wanting a little bit more; the weather just didn't stack up this year like it did last year so to get my fix I started paragliding. I know, not the safest decision but it really has brought to light a new understating of low level wind and thermal development phenomena and a strong desire to study more about micro-meteorology. It also means I can get my feet off the ground more often, even if it's only for half an hour after work.

The major challenge I faced with my blog over the last 6 months is that I rarely had time to put forth the effort to collate information for one of my longer posts. However as winter sets in and any hope of flying - glider, paraglider, or otherwise - gets covered over with snow I have once again re-dedicated myself to studying all topics of Soaring. This means I can continue to share what I am learning in hopes that others can benefit. In a effort to have a more consistent presence and give all my dedicated readers (or soon to be dedicated readers) a reason to stop in regularly I will be posting shorter articles covering some of the details of the work I'm doing with longer more detailed post when I have the time. In this spirit, below is a short snippet of of information gleaned from an amazing book recently purchased called, "Understanding the Sky" by Dennis Pagen.

In Chapter 7 Local Winds, Dennis addresses a phenomenon common to pilots in the North West US and on the East Coast; Sea Breeze Fronts. Here are some of the more important notes. If we imagine we are on the east coast with a north/south coast line, for winds coming from the south west the sea breeze front is most likely to push far inland. Winds from northwest will promote a sea breeze front which will likely form off shore and slowly push inland as heating increases. Winds from the north east likely means a high pressure inland which my set up a sea breeze later in the day but will be dependent on heating and will not push as far inland as general off shore winds. South east winds are indicative of a low over land increasing the onshore component of the wind and driving cool stable air far inland; No traditional sea breeze will be present. This is also the least favorable for soaring conditions. A more detailed explanation of why this is the case is covered in the book and worth a detailed read if you fly near a large body of water.

Also addressed in Chapter 7 is the effect of a sea breeze. For a soaring pilot sea breezes bring various different kinds of lift. Stable on shore winds bring smooth ridge lift to coastal sites and sea breezes flow around mountains and through passes colliding on the other side to create convergence lift bands familiar to the folks flying out of Hollister in nor-cal and Lake Elsinore in so-cal. Additional the formation of sea breeze fronts forms lift bands ahead of the cool airmass much like pre-frontal lift found ahead of an arriving cold front. Sea breeze frontal lift is characterized by a small band of good lift marked by good clouds with dying cu on the far side. Pilots are advised to stay ahead of the front to not suffer the same fate. The lift associated with the sea breeze front usually tops out around 3000', for inland covection levels below that the sea breeze front will be weak, convection levels greater will likly cause over development and localized showers and thunderstorms.

Hopefully you learned a little bit about sea breeze winds and front and are encourages to go out and get a great weather resource in the form of Dennis Pagen's book, "Understanding the Sky."

I'll take any comments or advice on the new format or anything else I've written about.

Keep soaring, even when you're close to the beach,

1 comment:

  1. Do you still have a link to the Google maps presentation from the 2010 SSA convention?