"" Writer's Wanderings: The Jet Stream

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Jet Stream

We all watch the jet stream with interest when we want to know what our weather is going to be like. Unless of course you live in San Diego where it is always nice. Or Florida where you worry more about what's kicking around off the coast. Those of us a little further north know that when the jet stream dips down, it means cooler weather. When it flows more to the north, it means a warmer day ahead.

While there were several people involved in researching the air currents we now call the jet stream, the term was first used in 1939 by a German meteorologist named H. Seilkopf. There are jet streams in both the northern and southern hemisphere but it is said that the one in the northern hemisphere is stronger.

The strong winds of the jet stream flow to the east. Therefore, a flight takes longer to get from the east coast to the west coast especially if the flight cannot avoid the jet stream. Our last trip to Seattle took us four hours flying west but only three and a half with a good tail wind coming east to return home.

Question: If it takes less fuel to fly east since the plane can travel in the jet stream, shouldn't eastbound tickets be cheaper? Just sayin'. . .

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