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Unit 3: Topography & Fire Behavior

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Slope and Valley Winds

Slope and valley winds are important local winds that are generated by the terrain and its exposure to the sun. Here's how they occur:

  1. The earth receives radiated energy from the sun, and therefore warms.
  2. This warm air rises during the day resulting in upslope winds.
  3. Slope Winds Day

  4. Upslope winds gradually produce up valley winds as the day progresses.
  5. Valley Winds Day

  6. At night, the earth and air touching it cools at all elevations.
  7. The cool, heavier nighttime air at higher elevations slides down the mountain, causing downslope drafts.
  8. Slope Winds Night

  9. Downslope drafts eventually develop into downvalley winds as the night progresses.
  10. Valley Winds Night

  11. This process is most prominent on cloudless days and nights.
  12. Valley and Slope Winds

Clouds limit, but do not stop, the solar heating and cooling processes.

Copyright 2008, by the Contributing Authors. Cite/attribute Resource . admin. (2005, October 25). Unit 3: Topography & Fire Behavior. Retrieved January 07, 2011, from Free Online Course Materials — USU OpenCourseWare Web site: http://ocw.usu.edu/Forest__Range__and_Wildlife_Sciences/Wildland_Fire_Management_and_Planning/Unit_3__Topography___Fire_Behavior_8.html. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons License