Weather Prospects for the Eclipse


This eclipse begins at moderate latitudes over Iran, heading steadily southeastward toward the equator for most of its length. At its beginning, weather patterns are influenced by high and low pressure systems moving in the upper westerly flow, just as in North America and Europe. Through India and Southeast Asia, the upper westerlies lose their importance, and the track moves into a region where northerly monsoon and trade winds dominate. Continuing past Borneo the path encounters the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ), the Earth's "weather equator," where northerly and southerly monsoons converge and thunderstorms hold court. Finally, leaving Indonesia and the last island sites, the eclipse track heads out into the Pacific, moving into the variable southerlies along the equator.

Each of these wind and weather regimes has its own peculiarities. However, it is safe to generalize that the eclipse path begins with good prospects of sunshine and ends with cloudier skies. This eclipse is a short one, offering barely two minutes of totality at best, and only one minute in areas with the sunniest weather prospects. Eclipse observers will have to make a difficult choice between eclipse duration and weather when they pick their viewing sites.

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