You may have some questions in your mind like: What are Jet streams? What are the importances of jet streams for flight operation?
First of all we should have a clear idea about Jet streams –
Jet streams are rapidly moving serpentine air currents or you can say air layers that exist in atmospheres of some planets. Our Earth has some similar kind of jet streams located near altitude of ‘tropopause’.
Path of the jet streams usually consist of twisty shapes. Jet streams can be of any form – it may start or stop, it can be split into many parts, or it may be merged into one stream, or can flow to various directions.
The strongest jet streams are the polar jets that are situated above 30,000 ft to 39,000 ft above the sea level. Another streams are there, which are called subtropical jet streams – situated around 33,000 ft to 52,000 ft above the sea level. Northern and southern hemispheres both have polar and subtropical jet streams also. The northern hemisphere stream flows above the middle to northern latitudes of Europe, North America, Asia and intersecting oceans, while the southern hemisphere stream mostly covers the Antarctica throughout the year.
Other jet streams are also there in the atmosphere of the Earth. Generally it is created where dry air collides with humid air at high altitudes. In the central United States, typical low-level jet streams are found in the atmosphere.
It is a fact that Meteorologists use to take help from some of the jet streams to get proper location and forecasting. But, the major benefit we get from the jet streams is for air travelling. It plays an important role for flight travelling – whether a flight goes with the flow or against the flow.
If a flight goes with the flow of jet streams, it faces less resistance – as a result of this, fuel consumption and time gets lesser. On the other hand, if a flight goes against the streams, its fuel consumption and time increases. That is why airlines work to fly with the jet streams, often airlines and air traffic control work together to get the maximum benefit from the jet streams.
Sometimes, ‘clear-air turbulences’ are found in jet streams area. But, flight times are usually not get affected by them. So, it is clear jet streams are an important issue for travelling flights in the atmosphere of the Earth.