By John P. Rafferty
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Extra resources for Climate and Climate Change
The first is the study of discrete and characteristic weather phenomena of a particular continental or subcontinental region. The second involves a statistical analysis of the various weather elements, principally temperature, moisture, atmospheric pressure, and wind speed, and a detailed examination of the basic relationships between such elements. Since the 1960s a third main branch, dynamic meteorology, has emerged. It deals primarily with the numerical simulation of climate and climatic change, employing models of atmospheric processes based on the fundamental equations of dynamic meteorology.
In disturbed weather, they cover a large part of the sky, and individual clouds may tower as high as 10 km (6 miles) or more, often ceasing their growth only upon reaching the stable stratosphere. These clouds produce heavy showers, hail, and thunderstorms . 3 feet) per second but may reach 5 metres (16 feet) per second, and similar values are measured inside smaller clouds. The upcurrents in thunderclouds, however, often exceed 5 metres per second and may reach 30 metres (98 feet) per second or more.
Sea-surface temperature anomalies that recur in the equatorial Pacific at variable intervals of two to seven years can sometimes produce major climatic perturbations. One such anomaly is known as El Niño (Spanish for “The Child”; it was so named by Peruvian fishermen who noticed its onset during the Christmas season). During an El Niño event, warm surface water flows eastward from the equatorial Pacific, in at least partial response to weakening of the equatorial easterly winds, and replaces the normally cold upwelling surface water off the coast of Peru and Ecuador that is associated with the northward propagation of the cold Peru Current.