Pat Shingleton: "Fronts and Nature's Directors..."
We've entered the season of more frontal passages. Next week's front will slide more cool air our way. In addition to warm, stationary and occluded fronts, have you ever heard of an upper front? They're frontal boundaries in the upper atmosphere that don't extend to the ground. "Anafronts" occur when warm fronts advance into the high altitudes and "karafronts" descend as cold fronts from high altitudes. Another group of fronts exist near the equator, separating air masses in the Northern and Southern Hemisphere know was "Intertropical fronts." In south Louisiana, we're accustomed to fronts that travel from west to east. Another strange type of front is called a "backdoor cold front." These systems originate in the northwest Atlantic Ocean and move onto the Northeast coast. These fronts are associated with high-pressure systems spinning clockwise off the coast, pushing cooler marine air toward the land. During our excursions in the woods on Wiley Hill, in Ellwood City, PA., Scout Master Art Johnson taught us that nature provided direction finders. One indicator was moss covering the north side of trees and rocks, wind direction and locating the north star. "Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences" reported that herds of grazing and resting deer and cattle align themselves with Earth's magnetic field. Researchers observed 3,000 deer in the Czech Republic noting that regardless of wind or sunlight, they generally aligned to the magnetic north. They believe creatures can sense Earth's magnetic field as field detection is a fundamental role in spatial perception. Even if creatures move over short distances, magnetism assisted their navigation.