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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2012 > Aug > Aug 14

Re: Socorro Again

From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul>
Date: Tue, 14 Aug 2012 13:09:19 +0100
Archived: Tue, 14 Aug 2012 09:35:10 -0400
Subject: Re: Socorro Again

Viktor dismissed the motion of the object against the wind with
the remark that the direction of the wind aloft does not have to
be the same as the surface wind. There is some truth in this,
but not enough.

Everyone should study David Rudiak's page on the Socorro wind.
Radiosonde measurements of upper winds would be ideal, but this
is just about as definitive as it's going to get.


David shows the low pressure centre and proves the expected
direction with numerous actual surface wind readings from around
the sighting time. Follow the source links. Check them. The
surface wind would indeed have been a fresh or strong breeze
(Beaufort 5 or 6 - 'branches and small trees sway, wind whistles
in telegraph wires') blowing from around the SSW.

The significant point I want to add is that low pressure winds
of this type are not shallow local effects that can be very
variable through shallow layers of a few meters, they are deep,
controlling the windflow through thousands of meters over a huge

Direction changes - even reversals - can occur at high level
well above the boundary layer; but the wind near the surface
will be essentially the same as the wind through the whole of
the boundary layer, or the friction layer, typically up to about
800 mbars even in the least-deep desert-type "warm" lows. This
is a couple of km deep, or well over a mile.

Even at this height all that usually happens is that the effect
of friction becomes negligible and the "inward spiral" of the
gradient wind referred to by David gives way to the geostrophic
wind, which is in balance between the pressure gradient and the
coriolis force so it blows simply at 90 degrees to the radius of
the pressure system at any point. Based on David's pressure map,
at Socorro this effect rotates the wind arrow slightly
clockwise, so the direction would be SW.  In other words, at
thousands of feet the wind direction would actually be even
_closer_ to a direction exactly opposite to the direction of the
object than the surface wind.

Finally, note the remark in the BB file that Zamora's sightline
to the object never rose above the angle of the mountains on the
horizon. Whether or not this is strictly true (I have seen it
said that it finally rose over the mountains, i.e. this is shown
in Ray Stanford's book) it emphasises the low elevation of the
object during a significant part of the departure flight. So the
scenario where Zamora is standing in a blowy SSW wind (as he
correctly reported) and some kids release a candle balloon, that
rises a few meters then suddenly catches a strong NE wind that
whips it away in the opposite direction, looks to me to be
completely unrealistic.

Martin Shough

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