Flow Interaction with TopographyTheoretical Considerations

Whether topography will block and turn wind depends on three factors:

  1. Stability of the boundary layer
  2. Height of the terrain, and
  3. Wind speed.

A stable atmosphere resists vertical motion. The more stable it is, the more likely that air will flow around, rather than over, a topographic obstacle. The taller the obstacle, the less likely it is that wind will pass over it. The higher the wind speed, the more likely it is to overcome the stability and terrain height to pass over the obstacle.

These same considerations apply in the Arctic.