The atmosphere is a very dynamic place with air
masses moving in response to various forces,
mainly, ultimately due to the re-distribution
of heat from the equator to the poles as
modulated by the rotation of the earth. . .
some very interesting fluid mechanics
Now air masses form and move around. When
two different air masses are juxtaposed often one
wins and pushes the other away by flowing
underneath (cold front) or on top of warm front;
but at times both air masses have about the
same O MPH! and we have a stationary front.
Such beasts are not long lived as eventually new
driving forces come in to play, and the general
circulation will destroy the approximate steady
One way of thinking about the general movement
of the atmosphere (a metaphor) is to go down to
the beach and watch the surf line. One moment the
water rushes in and it is moving up the beach and
it may be a few feet deep… but then it washes out
changing direction and the water depth becomes
zero … then new water flows in. and so the
earth atmosphere is a three dimensional version of
this at the scale of the PLANET.
The most important physics is the equator to
pole transport of heat (since the equator gets
more incident solar energy), the rotation of
the earth and the coupling between the
oceans and atmosphere.
This is a very complex system that is in an
incessant state of change . . . that we call
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