Pulling regional weather from the climate record


  • Colin Schultz


At its core, weather is fueled by the redistribution of energy, and the medium for this regional shuffling is the surface atmosphere. Adjacent air masses are characterized by different physical properties, with atmospheric fronts demarcating the boundaries between them. A passing front can bring storms and heat waves, or, expressed more mundanely, sudden changes in atmospheric conditions: temperature, humidity, and pressure. Despite the power of atmospheric fronts in explaining regional weather, little effort has been put into understanding front frequency or dynamics from a climatic perspective.