Historical Wind Patterns; A Problem for Model Validation

Watts Up With That?

Guest opinion: Dr. Tim Ball

We create crude global wind pattern maps (Figure 1). The problem is they are theoretical and based on a false premise known as the three cell global circulation pattern.


Figure 1

The empirical evidence does not support the three cell system, yet, like the greenhouse analogy, it still appears in most textbooks. Figure 2 is from NOAA’s “Fun for kids” current website.


Figure 2

One of the best recent (1997) reconstructions shows the complexity (Figure 3).


Figure 3

What effectively disappeared in the better approximation, or at best is a seasonal phenomenon, is the Ferrel Cell. The diagram indicates its transitory nature by labelling it the “indirect” Ferrel Cell. Again the diagram shows average conditions for both Hemispheres, but there is a considerable difference between them because of the different land water configurations. The Southern Hemisphere structure is more basic because the Antarctic continent effectively…

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