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MID LATITUDE CYCLONES. Grade 11 & 12 Climatology. What is a mid latitude cyclone. Explanation of the numbers above: The LP is caused by rising air. Air converges towards the LP area before rising. The centre is marked by an L on a synoptic weather map.

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Presentation Transcript
mid latitude cyclones


Grade 11 & 12


how do cyclones behave
Explanation of the numbers above:

The LP is caused by rising air.

Air converges towards the LP area before rising.

The centre is marked by an L on a synoptic weather map.

Air rotates in a clockwise direction around a LP centre (for the Southern hemisphere; the opposite occurs in the Northern hemisphere).

Isobar readings decrease towards the centre.

The rising air leads to cloudy weather / rain.

How do cyclones behave
where do the mid latitude cyclones form
Where do the mid latitude cyclones form?
  • These develop at the polar front, which is the meeting of cold polar air from the South, and warmer tropical air from the North (Southern Hemisphere). The cold easterly winds meet the warmer westerly winds at the polar front.

The two air massess meet but they do not mix

initial stage
Initial Stage

The meeting of these different winds creates a disturbance in the frontal surface which forms a wave in the polar front. The wave grows and intensifies, and forms a wedge of warm air penetrating the cold air. Low pressure forms at the point of the wave, and air begins to rotate in a clockwise direction (Southern Hemisphere).

the mature stage
The Mature Stage
  • The warm westerlies push into the cold air as they are drawn clcockwise around the Low Pressure.
  • Where the warm air intrudes into the cold air a warm front is formed
  • The cold easterlies swing around due to the convergence and intrude into the warm air forming a cold front
  • Further facts:
  • These weather systems move from West to East.
  • Mid latitude cyclones occur in groups or families (usually about 3 to 5 in a family).
  • They influence South Africa's weather: they bring rain to the S.W. Cape in winter and icy weather into the interior.
  • They are responsible for winter and early spring rain on the plateau thus filling farm dams and softening the soil for planting.
  • Remember:Cape Town is a winter rainfall area, due to the influence of the mid latitude cyclones. The mid latitude cyclone has different fronts and sectors; thus as it passes overhead the weather will change.
  • Pressure:Air pressure will increase as the cold front passes over you. Why?Because cold air is heavier and denser than warm air (thus has a higher pressure).