METEOROLOGIST JEFF HABY
Friction is a force. It is a force that slows motion and dampens energy.
When wind blows through a tree the tree impedes the wind flow. This causes the
wind to slow down. Friction releases some of the energy. This release
can be in the form of noise, vibration, and energy transfer. When the
wind hits the tree you can hear the noise of the wind blowing through the
leaves and branches and you can see the movement of the leaves and branches. Some
of the energy the wind had is transferred into moving the tree.
Friction can also transfer energy into heat energy. If you rub your hands together
you will notice that the skin on your hands warms up. Some of the energy of
motion in your hands is transferred to heat energy through the friction process.
When you bounce a ball on the ground you will notice that after each bounce the
ball does not rise as high as it did on the previous bounce. Eventually the
ball comes to a halt. It is friction with the ground each time the
ball hits the ground that dampens the energy the ball had. Each time the ball
hits the ground there is noise, vibration and energy transfer into the floor
that takes energy from the ball.
In meteorology friction is important because it causes the wind speeds at the
surface to be less and more turbulent than they otherwise would be. Rough terrain is more
effective in decreasing the wind speed than a water surface. Friction
processes can help promote
surface convergence and uplift.
The ultimate weather education website: http://www.theweatherprediction.com/