Common Wind Shear Patterns (Preview)

Observations for the Bay Area coastal areas

windshear1
Looking North at a Shear that moved in over San Francisco.
Photo Credit to Geoff Rutledge – Full Gallery

A wind shear happens when two air masses intersect and overlap each other. The air masses can be either moving in different directions or at different velocities. Among the most violent versions of a wind shear is the micro burst that occurs preceding a Thunder Shower. These are extremely violent downward blasts of air that hit the earth and radiate outward causing very high winds and hazards to pilots of any craft. Other wind shears happen in a horizontal fashion. The term shear defines the fact that one air mass is shearing off of the other. This happens because of the directional or velocity difference. Faster moving aircraft like planes and jets, will transition through the two air masses in an instant and this can be extremely hazardous. With the speed of a paraglider, we actually sometimes fly in the zone where the two air masses meet and mix.

In some locations, when the shear is of a horizontal ……

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