Meteorology: Understanding the Atmosphere            Ackerman and Knox


In mountainous regions with steep-sided, snow-covered large plateaus, the cool mountain breeze is anything but gentle. In some cases wind gusts can exceed 160 km/hr (100 mph)! These more violent relatives of mountain breezes are called katabatic winds. They occur all over the world and are called fall wind in Greenland and Antarctica. As the air sinks, it is compressed and therefore warms (Chapter 2). Sometimes the warming is enough to be observed on a satellite image. Such was the case on Marche 14,2002 over Antarctica. (The light blue numbers are temperatures near the surface, B15A and C-16 are iceburgs)

Katabatic winds over Antarctica