Science: The Wild Winds

The Wild Winds Why do so many planes crash into mountains—when mountain peaks are so well charted? The Air Force Cambridge Research Center suspects that some of these crashes are caused by the wild behavior of the mountain winds. Last week the Air Force sent Professor Paul Queney to the West Coast to team up with Professor J. Holmboe of U.C.L.A. in a study of mountain winds.

When the wind blows across a steep, high range, it does not merely veer up and then down. As it descends the leeward slope, the wind often breaks into thick, white, turbulent clouds called "rotors"...

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