Climate and Weather


When was jet stream discovered?

A jet stream is a flat and narrow tube of air that moves more rapidly than the surrounding air. Discovered by World War II bomber pilots flying over Japan and the Mediterranean Sea, jet streams have become important with the advent of airplanes capable of cruising at over 30,000 feet (9,144 meters). The currents of air flow from west to east and are usually a few miles deep, up to 100 miles (160 kilometers) wide, and well over 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) in length. The air current must flow at over 57.5 miles (92 kilometers) per hour.

There are two polar jet streams, one in each hemisphere. They move between 30 and 70 degrees latitude, occur at altitudes of 25,000 to 35,000 feet (7,620 to 10,668 meters), and achieve maximum speeds of over 230 miles (368 kilometers) per hour. The subtropical jet streams (again one per hemisphere) wander between 20 and 50 degrees latitude. They are found at altitudes of 30,000 to 45,000 feet (9,144 to 13,715 meters) and have speeds of over 345 miles (552 kilometers) per hour.


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