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Meteorology Fundamentals

Meteorology - Lesson 1

· Education


Meteorology is the study of weather or science that studies atmospheric phenomena. Since all weather phenomena occur in the atmosphere, it is self-evident that meteorology is of considerable importance to pilots.

The three basic factor which affects density is pressure, temperature, and humidity.

The air in general and the atmosphere is divided into four layers based on temperature variations within each division as shown in the figure below:

Density is not directly associated with weather phenomena but it is of importance to pilots because of the dependence of the airplane performance on density variation.

Weather phenomena :

Winds : is defined as the movement of air from a region of high pressure that naturally will try to flow towards regions of low pressure:

Nevertheless, winds do not flow directly from high to low-pressure regions but are affected for example by earth rotation, and temperatures registered in relation to the water and land surfaces.

The wind has direction and speed, which are measured in degrees and knots respectively.

Visibility : is the horizontal distance at which object can be seen and is expressed in kilometers or in meters.

Droplets of moisture in the atmosphere (cloud, mist, and fog) reduce visibility, as do rain, snow, and hail. Particles of solids (smoke and dust) also reduce visibility causing haze.

Nevertheless, these weather phenomena will be analyzed deeply in the next lessons.

Ceiling: is defined as the height of the cloud base importance due to the definition of alternate minima and VMC or IMC minima.

Clouds : consists of water droplets suspended in saturated air; they can be broadly divided into two general classed: stratiform cloud and cumuliform cloud.

The former is generally uniform in its appearance and is associated with stable air.

The vertical layer is generally not very great.

The latter has more irregular appearance with well-defined edges; it is associated with less stable air and is usually of greater vertical extent.

Depending on the altitude cloud can be further subdivided into the types shown in the figure below.

Finally, more specific phenomena will be reviewed further in relation to performance and operation impact during any flight...

Stay tuned

Bruno Stefano Rodriguez

Private Pilot - Flight Planning & Air Navigation Expert

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