Hands-On, Minds-On Meteorology
Description | Programming | Operation

Jet Stream


The description, as well as the rest of this page, will be updated one the program is finalized.

click for whole image



The objective of the Jet Stream program is to illustrate the relationship between lower tropospheric temperatures and upper air winds.




On top of a map background, isotherms are drawn parallel to each other. On every third isotherm, 5 control points have been placed at even intervals to allow the student to move that isotherm. The isotherms in between the aforementioned 5 isotherms are evenly spaced between themselves -- coming close together when control points are moved close together, and further apart when these control points are moved away from each other. The jet stream's strength is represented by a transparent green film, which becomes more opaque as the wind speed aloft increases.


  • Jet Stream is calculated at 250mb.
  • Surface Pressure is assumed to be 1000mb (even in mountains).
  • There are 724,204 meters (450 miles) for every 90 pixels, or 150 miles in between default locations of the isotherms.



Any other information



Running the Program

  • Click the link for Jet Stream
  • Click, hold the mouse over one of the control points (marked as a brown diamond) and drag it up and down to increase or decrease the temperature gradient.
  • If the mouse is over the map, the wind speed aloft at the point under the mouse is displayed at the bottom.
  • The maximum wind speed aloft is always displayed at the bottom.
  • Clicking the 'Reset' button will return the isotherms to their original position.

Extra Knowledge

Although hard to notice at first, there are control points on the left and right edge of the map.


Department of Atmospheric Sciences
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

Created by Dan Bramer: Last Modified 07/27/2004
send questions/comments to bramer@atmos.uiuc.edu