Today we will take Monday’s write-up on temperature inversions a step more with a discussion on atmospheric stability and also the species of weather we can expect with a stable and also unstable wait mass.

You are watching: What are characteristics of unstable air?

Atmospheric security is defined as the resistance that the setting to vertical motion. A stable environment resists an upward or downward movement. An unstable atmosphere permits an upward or downward disturbance to prosper into a upright (convective) current.

Determining the stability of the atmosphere requires measuring the difference in between the really existing (ambient) temperature lapse rate of a offered parcel of air and also the dry adiabatic price (a consistent 3°C per 1,000 feet lapse rate).

A stable layer of air would certainly be connected with a temperature inversion. Warming from below, on the other hand, would decrease the stability of an air mass.

The conditions and characteristic of steady or stormy air masses are displayed in the figure below.


Like many things in life their are benefits and also drawbacks come both atmospheric conditions. When the visibility might be excellent in an turbulent air mass friend are likely to encounter turbulent conditions and also possibly wind shear. In a stable air mass due to the fact that the waiting is stagnant (or absence of vertical motion) girlfriend will have actually a much smoother ride yet visibility could be diminished due come hazy conditions.

Take a look at at few of these sample FAA knowledge test questions and also see if you have the right to answer them. The AC 00-6B is a good additional recommendation to assist with your expertise on atmospheric stability.

1. What kind weather can one expect from moist, rough air, and an extremely warm surface temperatures?A—Fog and also low stratus clouds.B—Continuous heavy precipitation.C—Strong updrafts and cumulonimbus clouds.

2. What space the features of stable air?A—Good visibility; steady precipitation; stratus clouds.B—Poor visibility; stable precipitation; stratus clouds.C—Poor visibility; intermittent precipitation; cumulus clouds.

3. A moist, stormy air fixed is defined byA—poor visibility and smooth air.B—cumuliform clouds and also showery precipitation.C—stratiform clouds and consistent precipitation.

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4. I beg your pardon is a characteristic usual of a steady air mass?A—Cumuliform clouds.B—Showery precipitation.C—Continuous precipitation.