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As paraglider pilots we are very interested in the movement of the air both vertically and horizontally. Horizontal movement is called "wind" and vertical movement is known as "instability".

Flying here in Santa Barbara on a daily basis, I am interested in the report from Debbie, the windtalker located on LaCumbre Peak. Debbie will report the winds that have occurred over the last hour. I am also interested in the winds aloft forcast for the Santa Barbara area. This report will tell me predicted wind speeds and temperatures at different altitudes.

Vandenburg ReportThe other report that is extremely helpful is the Vandenburg Lapse Rate Chart. It shows more accurately the temperatures at different altitudes. Air temperature generally drops at 3 degrees per thousand feet on an average day. If we see the average drop in temperature, we will probably have average thermals. If it cools at a faster rate, it may encourage thermals to climb higher and faster. If it doesn't cool at the standard rate or if it gets warmer as we increase altitude, we probably will not have good chances of encountering a thermal.

Of course it is nice to look at the big picture and make predictions about how the next few days weather may pan out by looking at the jetstream, isobars, and satellite imagery.

Weather Clinic

In the Weather Clinic we will look closer at the resources available to us and how to interpret them. Understanding these resources can save you a lot of time and allow you to understand better what you are launching into. If you can start to make better weather predictions, you can decide to take care of other things on a marginal day or if you need to call in sick on an epic day. We will cover local Santa Barbara phenomenon, macrometeorology, and micrometerology in great detail. We will try to fly somewhere in the area between our discussions.

The weather clinic is a one day course and costs $175. Discounts available on parties of 2 or more, call 805-403-5848 or e-mail for details.

Circling Hawk Paragliding

© Circling Hawk Paragliding • Santa Barbara, California • Bo Criss • 805-403-5848 •