WunderBlog Archive » Category 6™

Category 6 has moved! See the latest from Dr. Jeff Masters and Bob Henson here.

The dreaded bad-i-sad-o-bist-roz

By: Dr. Jeff Masters, 3:59 PM GMT on May 11, 2005

If you're the owner of a Volkswagen Bora, Sirocco, or Passat, you own a wind. That's right, these are all names of winds. The bora (see photograph below) is a wind that originates high in cold mountain areas. The cold, dense air flows downward under the force of gravity and warms according to the Ideal Gas Law, but is so cold so start with, that it remains much colder than the air at the base of the mountains. The bora is a scourge of the Adriatic Sea, blowing for 40 or more days a year, closing railroads and forcing ships in Trieste, Italy to flee for shelter further south.

The passat is a German term for a trade wind. And the sirocco (Arabic for 'easterly'), a springtime wind that brings hot, dusty air from the Sahara and Arabian Peninsula, has a positively evil repuation, according to Lyall Watson's excellent book, "Heaven's Breath: A Natural History of the Wind". The book quotes a traveler from England who encountered a sirocco in the 1800's: "The sirocco has now blown for these six days without intermission; and has indeed blown away all our gaiety and spirits; and if it continues much longer, I do not know what may be the consequence. It gives a lassitude, both to the body and mind, that renders them absolutely incapable of performing their usual functions." The book goes on to quote extensive medical research on the sirocco's negative effect on people in Israel. More than one third of the Israeli population experience an adverse reaction to the wind.

Since Volkwagen doesn't seem to have any concerns about naming their vehicles after evil winds, I have a suggestion for their next vehicle name: the Bad-i-sad-o-bist-roz, named after the dreaded Iranian and Afghanistanian 'wind of one hundred and twenty days'. This wind blows constantly for 120 days, June through September, and was described by Lord Curzon as "the most vile and abominable in the universe'. This hot, dry wind, laden with dust and salt, buries entire farms and villages in its relentless march across the desert.

Naturally, the Bad-i-sad-o-bist-roz would have to be one bad SUV. It would come only in black, have dark tinted windows, armor plating to help it take out any economy cars it might meet in a crash, a 500 Watt stereo system, and get about 6 miles per gallon. In short, the most vile and abominable vehicle in the universe.

Jeff Masters
Bora wind over the waters of SE Alaska
Bora wind over the waters of SE Alaska
The Bora is a wind that originates high in cold mountain areas. The air flows downward and warms according to the Ideal Gas Law, but is so cold so start with, that it remains much colder than the air at the base of the mountains. The Bora wind in this photo originated in the mountains surrounding Glacier Bay, Alaska, and created a condensation cloud as it passed over the relatively warm ocean waters offshore.

Atmospheric Phenomena

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

I have always been under the impression that Volkswagon was German for "Car of the People". Is this not true?
Never mind. Just reread the article. I got it wrong. Too earling in the morning.
Make that "early in the morning".
Very interesting, are they trying to mean that their cars move like the wind?
No, they named them that because they break wind.
Tried to google Badi-i-sad-o-bist-roz, came back with no results. Might we have a link to some reference on this phenomenon?
Do these mouintain descending winds account for the warm temperatures in Alberta today compared to those firther south, say Montana? The wind pattern sems to be from the south rather than from the West.
It's not surprising that such well-defined natural phenomena earn their own names. I believe the previous poster is talking about the Chinook wind, which actually often provides much welcome relief from winter cold in the prairie states east of the Rockies. Wet winds on the west side of the Rockies cool approximately 1C/100 m elevation while raining off their moisture, and then heat up approximately 1.5C/ when they are dry and fall on the east side of the Rockies, causing often very large temperature rises that can melt many inches of snow and ice in one day. In the european Alps, the same wind is called Foen (the word is also used for hairdryer! :-), which is often accompanied by beautiful, ellipsoidal clouds (cumulus lenticularis).
The correct spelling is "Bad-i-sad-o-bist-roz", the reference I used had the spelling incorrect. If you Google "Bad-i-sad-o-bist-roz", you will come up with plenty of matches.

The chinook or foehn is also a mountain wind that descends under the force of gravity. However, unlike the bora, the source area of a chinook is warm enough that the wind comes to the base of the mountain warmer than the surrounding air. The chinook is known as the "snow-eater" in Colorado because it rapidly melts snow on the ground.

Jeff Masters
You could add the Jetta (named after the Jet Stream), unless that is not officially considered a "wind." The Golf is named after the Gulf Stream (Golf in German, or so I'm told).
A Chevy Chinook would, erm, blow me away
...or how about a car called Mistral...
Renault Mistral?


"a Wunderode for Jeff"
Oh mean wind that hottest blows
Bad-i-sad-o-bist-roz
Bad the wind, and bad the blowing
A hundred days, and still keeps going
But where it goes, noone knows.

(Not even Jeff!)

Quoting 2. lornepare:

Never mind. Just reread the article. I got it wrong. Too earling in the morning.

Same here in Albania but different time though.
Quoting 6. goldenduck:

Tried to google Badi-i-sad-o-bist-roz, came back with no results. Might we have a link to some reference on this phenomenon?

Don't mind helping but (damn felt like time went backwards) .........