Blizzards (Facts on File Dangerous Weather Series) by Michael Allaby

By Michael Allaby

The books during this sequence make up an introduc tion to the technology of climate for all readers elderly 11 a nd over. The six volumes within the sequence are - Tornadoes, Drou ghts, Blizzards, Hurricanes, Floods, and A Chronology of Wea ther. '

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They form well outside the Arctic and Antarctic Circles and move out from large snow and ice fields at higher altitudes, continuing until they reach a level where the temperature is high enough to melt them. Most flow a few inches or a few feet a day, but some can travel as much as 150 feet (46 m) in a day. Not all of the glacier flows at the same speed. Glaciers flow faster at the center than at the sides, where the movement is slowed by friction against the valley walls, faster in the middle than near the head or foot, and the surface flows more slowly than the ice beneath.

Beneath the rigid ice of the outer layer, the ice may be soft and there may even be liquid water. The warmth to melt the ice partly or completely is derived from the gravitational tidal forces generated by Jupiter. Perhaps Ganymede and Europa both support some form of life. past climates. Two other projects do similar work in the Northern Hemisphere, at a place called Summit, in central Greenland. The United States operates the Greenland Ice Sheet Project 2 (GISP 2), and about 19 miles (30 km) away European scientists operate the Greenland Ice Core Project (GRIP).

Advancing cold air undercuts the warmer, slower-moving air ahead of it, lifting it above the surface. The boundary where two air masses meet is called a front (see sidebar) and it is along fronts that extreme weather is most likely to occur. Nor is the march of the air masses constant. Dense air may become stuck, remaining in the same place for days or weeks. It is then called a blocking high and brings dry, settled weather, extremely cold in winter and hot in summer. Despite blocking the path of other air masses, it does not halt their progress.

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