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CHAPTER TWO
AVIATION WEATHER
These winds average about 100 to 150 knots but may reach speeds in excess of 250 knots
(Figure 2-9). Since the jet stream is stronger in some places than in others, it rarely encircles the
entire hemisphere as a continuous river of wind. More frequently, it is found in segments from
1000 to 3000 miles in length, 100 to 400 miles in width, and 3000 to 7000 feet in depth.
The average height of jet stream winds is about 30,000 feet MSL, but they can be above or below
this level depending on the latitude and the season. During the winter, the position of the jet
stream is further south, the core rises to higher altitudes, and its speed is faster than in the
summer.
Figure 2-9 Jet Stream
The existence of jet streams at operational altitudes requires additional aircrew flight planning
consideration. The greater headwind component for westbound aircraft will increase fuel
consumption and may require additional alternate landing fields along the route. Wind shear
associated with the jet stream may also cause turbulence, forcing the aircrew to change altitude
or course.
Local Winds
The term "local," in the case of wind systems, applies to areas whose sizes range from tens of
miles across, to long, geographically thin areas. The local wind systems created by mountains,
valleys, and water masses are superimposed on the general wind systems and may cause
significant changes in the weather.
2-10 Atmospheric Mechanics of Winds, Clouds and Moisture, and Atmospheric Stability


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