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clear-air turbulence

[kleer-air] /ˈklɪərˈɛər/
noun
1.
atmospheric turbulence, sometimes severe, occurring in air devoid of clouds or other visible indicators that turbulence might be present.
Abbreviation: CAT.
Origin
1950-1955
1950-55
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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clear air turbulence in Science
clear-air turbulence
  (klîr'âr')   
Atmospheric turbulence that occurs under tranquil and cloudless conditions at high altitudes near jet streams, mountain ranges, and developing storm systems. It subjects aircraft to strong updrafts and downdrafts.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for clear air turbulence

clear-air turbulence

erratic air currents that occur in cloudless air between altitudes of 7,000 and 12,000 metres (23,000 and 39,000 feet) and constitute a hazard to aircraft. This turbulence can be caused by small-scale (i.e., hundreds of metres and less) wind velocity gradients around the jet stream, where rapidly moving air is close to much slower air. It is most severe over mountainous areas and also occurs in the vicinity of thunderstorms.

Learn more about clear-air turbulence with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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