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How well do you know Kyle and Allen? They are known for being rather distant, and can be found in South Dakota. But "Kyle" and "Allen" are places, not people. And if you have a fear of the ocean, these locations might be perfect for you.

Explorers often defined the continental "pole of inaccessibility" as the most remote location on a continent, based on distance from nearest coastline. For North America, this point lies at 43.36 degrees north, 101.97 degrees west- or roughly between Kyle and Allen (South Dakota). Of course, there are many ways to define the "remoteness" of an area. You could examine elevation, distance from major land masses, or even geography.

Geography and meteorology are more closely related than you may think. After all, different surfaces heat at different rates. A loamy soil will "heat-up" at a different rate than clay-based soil. This differential heating leads to changes in air pressure, which in turn creates air currents. The resulting wind keeps storm systems in motion. Our whole system of planetary weather is based on these principles.

A good local example is the summer "sea breeze". At the coast, land tends to warm faster than the ocean surface. As a result, a localized pressure variation is created. This creates an inland-moving flow of air called the "sea breeze". Thunderstorms often form along this boundary. A similar phenomena occurs over the varying terrain separating the Piedmont and Sandhills. The resulting "Piedmont Trough" often provides focus for showers/thunderstorms across our interior counties. It can take a meteorologist years on the job to figure out the local mechanisms that drive weather. And even then, a little guesswork is often required.

One quick parting fact- "Challenger Deep", located nearly 7 miles below the Pacific Ocean near Guam, is the most remote underwater location on Earth. Top marks to anyone who can guess the name of the film-maker who traveled the Challenger Deep.

If you would like to see a truly amazing photo of a US submarine that surfaced through 61 inches of ice at the North Pole (one of the most remote places on Earth), join my new facebook page. Here's the link: Chief Meteorologist Jerry Jackson



By: Jerry Jackson