Climatology

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The following videos show the climatological mean wind and temperature on Kerbin, from the surface to the top of the atmosphere. In each video, grey lines depict landmasses while gridded white lines show parallels of latitude and meridians of longitude.

Above, the climatological wind speed is looped, from the lowest to the highest MPAS model level. Near the surface, winds are strongest over the ocean. In the mid-latitudes, the speed of the wind increases with height and the wind direction becomes predominately westerly. Above five km above sea level (A.S.L), climatological jet streams come into view. Peak jet stream winds are observed between 10-12 km ASL, in the mid-latitudes. Above 20-km ASL, stratospheric winds are easterly over the tropics and westerly in the extratropics. A stratospheric polar vortex is observed around both poles. This vortex, characterized by strong zonal winds at high-latitudes, appears strongest around 40 km ASL. In the lower mesosphere (> 55 km ASL), winds in the extratropics develop a meridional (north-south) component. Divergence in the tropics is offset by convergence over the poles. This over-turning circulation may be an artifact of the model, which has an upper boundary at 70 km ASL. 

This animation displays the climatological temperature, looped from the lowest to the highest MPAS model level. Near the surface, temperatures are generally colder over land. Gradients in temperature are observed near large mountain ranges, along the edges of ice sheets, and around coastlines in the extratropics. Within the troposphere, temperature decreases with height. As height increases, temperature gradients weaken and migrate equatorward. At 10 km ASL, the equator to pole temperature difference is a mere 20 K. At the lowest model level, this temperature difference is 100 K. The coldest temperatures in Kerbin's atmosphere are observed at the top of the tropical troposphere around 17 km ASL. At this altitude, tropical temperatures dip below 185 K (-88°C). In the stratosphere, temperature increases with height due to the presence of ozone. This increase in temperature with height is first observed at high-latitudes where the stratosphere is closer to the ground. In the upper stratosphere (~ 43 km ASL), temperatures over the poles are above freezing (273 K). Temperatures in the mesosphere, above 55 km, decrease with height.