Jet Streams

Topics: Aircraft, Flight, Equator Pages: 1 (430 words) Published: July 26, 2014
Jet Streams
Jet streams are strong westerly winds that blow in a narrow band in Earth's upper atmosphere at the same altitudes at which airplanes fly. They form because of temperature variations between the poles and equator. There are two occurrences that results in the Jet Streams. The first occurrence would be when hot air rises from the tropics towards the North and South Poles subsequently the second occurrence is as the hot air is moving to the north and south poles from the tropics, the earth is rotating on its axis from west to east. This west-to-east circulation of the earth creates a gigantic cross-current motion that ''bumps'' into the north-south moving air. It is at this juncture where the jet streams begin. Because of their strong winds, jet streams are playing an important role in the economy of the aviation industry. Since 1952, commercial airlines have made use of the benefits of the jet stream to a large advantage by reducing flight times by up to 33 percent, resulting in huge savings in fuel and money. This is so when Airplanes have flight routes going eastwards that go along with the jet streams thus gaining advantage of the powerful boost that they can provide which helps to push the plane along. However if any airplane flies into a westward jet stream, extra fuel must be used to propel the plane to go against the powerful wind. As much as it acts as an economical factor influencing the industry, it also has its hazards. Winds of different velocities are buffeting the airplane when the airplanes keep flying in and out of the jet streams. It causes a bouncing or a shaky feeling for the passengers in the plane. This feeling is termed as turbulence. It occurs at the very edges of the jet stream, where the high speed winds pass through the surrounding slower-moving air thus giving the bouncing feeling. Pilots would fly higher or lower altitudes so as to get beneath or above the jet stream. Even though it has a hazard, with the right safety...

References: Amanda Briney.  Discovery of Jet Stream. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 24 July 14]. 
Chris Deziel. 2014. How do the Jet streams affect flights. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 24 July 14].
Jim Bencivenga. 1982. How jet streams affects an airplane ride. [ONLINE] Available at: [Accessed 24 July 14].
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