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Turbulence: All Mixed Up - Windows to the Universe

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Warnings: The True Story of How Science Tamed the Weather by Mike Smith tells the story of our storm warning system. See our online store book collection.

Turbulence: All Mixed Up

If you've ever ridden in an airplane, you might have some idea what turbulence is. When an airplane flies through a turbulent place in the atmosphere it will bounce around a bit as the wind outside blows the plane in different directions.

Nothing to worry about - turbulence is natural and it happens all over the universe, from river rapids to ocean waves to Jovian planets to stars to nebulae! You can even see turbulence when you pour milk into a cup of hot tea.

Turbulence is just a fluid moving around crazily so it's all mixed up. It's difficult to predict what a turbulent flow is going to do because of something called the butterfly effect.

Last modified November 16, 2005 by Randy Russell.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF