Wednesday, December 15, 2010

All Valleys Not Equal

It's another inversion plot, you say. Yet it is not so.

Two valley station, Fairbanks Airport, and the Angel Creek RAWS, near 53 Mile Chena Hot Springs Road. Both valley bottom locations. The difference: terrain orientation. Fairbanks Airport is ringed by hills on three sides. Angel Creek is in a narrow valley that tends to funnel any northeast pressure gradient. The result is a persistent breeze right to the valley floor that largely busts the inversion. Go past Angel Creek and the road makes a braod curve into Chena Hot Springs and, presto, the wind (usually) drops off and the temperature dips.

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