There is a lot of information out there with regards to backing and veering winds. I have no problems with these terms when applied in the US (or anywhere in the Northern hemisphere for that matter). I do get confused about what term should be used in Australia (Southern hemisphere). Take this sounding for example-


Do the winds veer or back with height? Take the weatherzone definition-

"Veering winds - Winds which shift in a clockwise direction with time at a given location (e.g., from southerly to westerly), or which change direction in a clockwise sense with height (e.g., southeasterly at the surface turning to southwesterly aloft). The latter example is a form of directional shear which is important for tornado formation. Compare with backing winds. "

This obviously just taken straight from a Northern hemisphere definition (probably US). "Southeasterly at the surface turning to southwesterly aloft......important for tornado formation." !!! Not in Australia!!!

Now the American Meteorological Society definition-

"Veering - 1. According to general international usage, a change in wind direction in a clockwise sense (e.g., south to southwest to west) in either hemisphere of the earth; the opposite of backing"

So the winds in the sounding above should back with height based on that definition. Personally, I don't like that definition since I believe the process is what is important, not the direction of turning. Definition 2. makes more sense to me-

"Veering - 2. According to widespread usage among U.S. meteorologists, a change in wind direction in a clockwise sense in the Northern Hemisphere, counterclockwise in the Southern Hemisphere; the opposite of backing."

Based on that definition the winds would be described as veering with height in the sounding above! That sounds right to me. What term should we use?



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