Marine Weather (from a Sailor's Perspective)

Red Sky at Night, Sailor's Delight

In the mid latitudes, weather systems generally move from west to east. A red sky in the west, as the sun sets, indicates that the atmosphere between you and the sun is essentially clear.

If you can see through the atmosphere that is west of you, you are likely looking at high pressure and a stable air mass.

What you are seeing is very likely tomorrow’s weather.

The sky appears red because the shorter blue wavelengths are filtered out by the thicker atmosphere, while the longer red wavelengths are able to get through.

Red Sky in the Morning, Sailor take Warning

In the mid latitudes, weather systems generally move from west to east. A red sky in the west, as the sun sets, indicates a clear atmosphere between you and the sun.

On the other hand, a red sky in the east at sunrise suggests that the clear weather has passed and the odds are, that the not so nice weather is moving in from the west.

Just as with the sunset, the sky appears red because the shorter blue wavelengths are filtered out by the thicker atmosphere, while the longer red wavelengths are able to get through.

Marine Weather Services in Canada

The primary source of Marine Weather Services in Canada is the Department of Environment and natural resources. Marine forecasts are available for all of Canada’s coastlines and waterways at: https://weather.gc.ca/marine/index_e.html.

 In addition to marine weather forecasts, the department also publishes a National Marine Weather Guide as well as Regional Marine Weather Guides geared to the different regions of Canada. These guides provide very valuable information about conditions that are unique to certain parts of the country.

 

The wind and waves are always on the mind of the mariner. Wind and waves are generated by the weather. Earth’s weather occurs in the troposphere, which extends from the earth’s surface to an altitude of about 17 kilometers (in the mid-latitudes). Weather in the mid-latitudes is results from the interaction between the cold polar air mass which normally sits over the North pole and the warmer sub-tropical air found in the mid-latitudes. The colder polar air is drier and heavier, while the sub-tropical air is moist and lighter.

Now, let’s throw in a few more variables like daytime solar heating, nighttime cooling, the spin of the earth, just to name a few.

It is essential that the mariner has a good understanding of some basic meteorological concepts.

The Jet Stream

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