#56628788 Physical Geography - 1 Running Head PHYSICAL...

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1 Running Head: PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY Physical Geography: The Santa Ana Winds and Formation of Hurricanes Name Institution Course Date
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2 Running Head: PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY Question 2: development of Santa Ana Winds in Southern California The Santa Ana is a tempestuous, dry, foehn-type wind that moves from the desert to the coast. These winds are seasonal, mostly occurring during winter, fall, and spring. The wind is formed when cold air finds its way to the Great Basin between the Rockies to the east of California. As the wind blows in intermittent bursts from October through March, they present threats of dryness and extreme temperatures which more than often results into explosive wildfires in the area [Ner16]. The infamous winds are especially severe due to the huge pressure difference between where the air originates and where it finally ends up. Pressure Systems Pressure systems are some of the fundamental factors that underlie the formation of the Santa Ana winds. High-pressure in the Great Basin area coupled with a low-pressure in Southern California are necessary for the formation of the winds. The atmospheric pressure around the Great Basin tends to be high during the cold season. The result is air circulating the high-pressure area which then heads west [Nat11]. The low-pressure area over the Pacific Ocean causes a pressure gradient that sucks the winds through the mountain ranges towards the coast. The air mass takes the path of least resistance by channeling through the mountains to the lower coastal elevations. As the air is funneled through the mountain passes, its velocity increases drastically, and this further lowers the pressure. Wind Directions The direction of the winds is primarily determined by the pressure difference in the area at the time of occurrence. Mostly, the winds blow in a clockwise direction around the high- pressure zone in the Northern Hemisphere toward the lower offshore area. The wind blows down
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3 Running Head: PHYSICAL GEOGRAPHY the mountains and ends up in the coastal areas of Southern California. As the winds whirl through the canyons and mountains, their pressure decreases gradually, and this leads to the formation of eddies [Jod16]. During this phase, they can change directions quickly and race into new areas unexpectedly.
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  • Fall '12
  • Sociology, Tropical cyclone, Santa Ana Winds

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