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Katabatic wind

Wind taking high-density air down-slope / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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A katabatic wind (named from the Greek word κατάβασις katabasis, meaning "descending") is a drainage wind, a wind that carries high-density air from a higher elevation down a slope under the force of gravity. Such winds are sometimes also called fall winds; the spelling catabatic winds[1] is also used. Katabatic winds can rush down elevated slopes at hurricane speeds, but most are not that intense and many are 10 knots (18 km/h) or less.

Plateau-cooled air falls into the Makhtesh Ramon, traced by radiation fog, just after dawn. Radiative cooling of the desert highlands chills the air, making it more dense than the air over the lowlands. Cooler air can also hold less water vapour; it condenses out as tiny fog droplets, which re-evaporate as the air warms. Here, the falling air is warming adiabatically, and so the fog re-evaporates as it falls.
Katabatic wind in Antarctica

Not all downslope winds are katabatic. For instance, winds such as the föhn and chinook are rain shadow winds where air driven upslope on the windward side of a mountain range drops its moisture and descends leeward drier and warmer. Examples of true katabatic winds include the bora in the Adriatic, the Bohemian Wind or Böhmwind in the Ore Mountains, the Santa Ana in southern California, the piteraq winds of Greenland, and the oroshi in Japan. Another example is "the Barber", an enhanced katabatic wind that blows over the town of Greymouth in New Zealand when there is a southeast flow over the South Island. "The Barber" has a local reputation for its coldness.