Thursday, April 7, 2011

Iguazu Falls

Thundering down between the Argentina and Brazil border, 
the roaring Iguazu Falls can be heard from kilometers away!

Figure 1.  Water from the Iguazu River, an important tributary off
of the Parana River, rushes off a plateau creating the falls. (Video taken by me)

Figure 2.  Iguazu Falls is located in the North-East part of Argentina.

Condensation occurs often in this subtropical climate because of it's 75%-90% relative humidity. As water evaporates from the rivers nearby, clouds are formed due to adiabatic cooling. Once the air temperature falls below the dew point, the relative humidity rises to 100%, and the air cools, precipitation is produced near Iguazu Falls. 

Figure 3.  With this location being in a subtropical high region, 
subsiding air is warm and provides stable weather.

Iguazu Falls does receives many thunderstorms as a result of moisture and unstable air. As warm moist air lifts adiabatically and condenses, cumulus-type clouds are formed.

 Figure 4. This picture that I took shows a great example of 
Cumulonimbus thunderclouds developing behind Iguazu Falls.

As a result of these thunderstorms, lightning brings hazzard to the community living nearby.  When opposite charges attract each other, a visible stroke can be seen as a stepped leader and a traveling spark meet. 

Figure 5.  This picture shows a great example of a 
"Bolt from the Blue" lightning strike at Iguazu Falls.

Tornadoes also post a threat in a nearby region of Iguazu Falls.  These tornadoes are created after a strong cold front separates really hot air from really cold air, a big humidity difference, and a jet stream pulls up air from the surface.  

Figure 6. As a result of this tornado in Argentina, 6 locals 
were killed and more than 100 people were injured.

Works Cited