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Convective Currents

Convective Currents


  • Different surfaces radiate heat in varying amounts. Plowed ground, rocks, sand, and barren land give off a large amount of heat; water, trees, and other areas of vegetation tend to absorb and retain heat.
  • The resulting uneven heating of the air creates small areas of local circulation called convective currents.
  • Convective currents cause the bumpy, turbulent air sometimes experienced when flying at lower altitudes during warmer weather.
  •  On a low altitude flight over varying surfaces, updrafts are likely to occur over pavement or barren places and downdrafts often occur over water or expansive areas of vegetation like a group of trees.
  •  Typically, these turbulent conditions can be avoided by flying at higher altitudes, even
  • above cumulus cloud layers.

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