The Jet Stream

Jetstream Tracker for Britain

The jet stream is a narrow band of fast flowing air at high altitudes generally flowing from the west to east over the mid-latitudes and are caused by a combination of the planet's rotation on its axis and atmospheric heating (by solar radiation).

Jet streams are found at or just below the top of the troposphere, but the term is often wrongly used for all upper-level winds. Usually the jet stream marks the boundary between cold polar air to its north and warmer air to its south (northern hemisphere). The jet stream above the UK is called the Polar Jet Stream, its this Jet stream which is responsible for the UKs weather.

If you want to see the current Jet Stream for Europe in greater detail, then click on the chart below which will take you over to Wunderground.com for a larger map.


Jetstream Chart

Meteorologists use the location of some of the jet streams as an aid in weather forecasting. The main commercial relevance of the jet streams is in air travel, as flight time can be dramatically affected by either flying with the flow or against. Clear-air turbulence, a potential hazard to aircraft passenger safety, is often found in a jet stream's vicinity, but it does not create a substantial alteration on flight times. This is another version of a Jet Stream Chart courtesy of Weathercharts.org


Clouds along a jet stream seen from space