Describe Jet Stream and highlight its importance.

 Question.

Describe Jet Stream and highlight its importance. ( UPPSC, 2020)

Answer.

A jet stream is a geostrophic wind with a width of a few hundred kilometers and it blows in the upper part of the troposphere (at 8-10 km altitude) and its speed is very fast (120 km/h to 500 km/h).

  • Jet streams flow from west to east in both hemispheres.
  • There are two jet stream streams in each hemisphere that flow between the boundary lines of two different air masses.
  • Their names are as follows:
    • The subtropical jet stream that flows between 20 and 35 degrees latitude in both hemispheres.
    • The polar jet stream flows between 50 and 60 degrees latitude in both hemispheres.
  • The speed of jet streams increases in winter due to the substantial difference in temperature gradient between the two air masses.
Describe Jet Stream and highlight its importance.


Importance of Jet Stream:

  • The location of the jet stream makes it easier to understand global weather patterns because the jet stream is located on the boundary line between cool and warm air.
  • Riding in the direction of the jet stream saves aircraft time and also reduces fuel consumption. For example, flying in the direction of the jet stream takes only 11 hours instead of 18 hours from Japan to the USA.
  • The jet stream plays an important role in the onset and withdrawal of monsoon winds. For example, the monsoon begins in India only when the subtropical jet stream moves from the south of the Himalayas to the north of the Himalayas.
  • The subtropical jet stream also brings rain to the north-western part of India in winter, which is very important for winter crops.
  • Jet streams bring moisture into the stratosphere, leading to the development of nocturnal clouds.
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