By: Caden Gallup

What Is Wind And What Causes It?

Wind is air that is moving parallel to the ground.There are two major types of wind: global wind and local wind. As the sun warms the Earth's surface, the atmosphere warms too. Some parts of the Earth receive direct rays from the sun all year and are always warm. Other places receive indirect rays, so the climate is colder. Warm air rises up and then cool air moves in and replaces the rising warm air. This movement of air is what causes the wind blow.

Local Winds

What Are Local Winds And How Are They Created?

The pattern of typical winds you get in a local area is what we call a local wind. Usually, they're tens of miles to hundreds of miles. These winds can be cold or hot, dry or wet. They can be mild and safe or violent and dangerous. These winds span short distances. They are created by unequal heating in Earth's atmosphere when high pressure moves into low pressure.

How Do Sea Breezes Blow?

During the day, the sun heats up both the ocean surface and the land. Water is a good absorber of the energy from the sun. The land absorbs much of the sun’s energy too. However, water heats up much more slowly than land, so the air above the land will be warmer compared to the air over the ocean. The warm air over the land will rise throughout the day causing low pressure at the surface. Over the water, high surface pressure will form because of the colder air. To compensate, the air will sink over the ocean. The wind will blow from the higher pressure over the water to lower pressure over the land causing the sea breeze. The sea breeze strength will vary depending on the temperature difference between the land and the ocean.

How Do Land Breezes Blow?

At night, the roles reverse. The air over the ocean is warmer than the air over the land. The land loses heat quickly after the sun goes down and the air above it cools too. This can be compared to a blacktop road. During the day, the blacktop road heats up and becomes very hot to walk on. At night, however, the blacktop has given up the added heat and is cool to the touch. The ocean is able to hold onto this heat after the sun sets and not lose it as easily. This causes the low surface pressure to shift to over the ocean during the night and the high surface pressure to move over the land. It causes a small temperature change between the ocean surface and the nearby land at night, and the wind will blow from the land to the ocean creating the land breeze.

Global Winds

What Are Global Winds And How Are They Created?

Global winds are really large air masses that are created mainly as a result of the earth’s rotation, the shape of the earth, and the sun’s heating power. As the warmer air over the equator rises, colder air from the poles rushes toward the equator to take its place. This exchange of warm and cold air that occurs between the equator and the poles produces global wind belts.

What Are The Doldrums?

The doldrums are regions of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans that have little if any wind. They are caused by solar radiation from the sun, as sunlight beams down directly on the area around the equator. This heating causes the air to warm and rise straight up rather than blow horizontally.
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What are Trade Winds?

Trade winds are winds that blow toward the equator from the northeast in the northern hemisphere or the southeast in the southern hemisphere, especially at sea. Two belts of trade winds circle the earth blowing from the tropical high-pressure belts to the low-pressure zone at the equator.

What Are Prevailing Westerlies?

Prevailing Westerlies are the winds in the middle latitudes between 35 and 65 degrees latitude.They usually blow from the high-pressure area in the horse latitudes towards the poles. These prevailing winds blow from the west to the east steering extratropical cyclones in this general manner.

What are Jet Streams?

Jet streams are narrow bands of strong wind in the upper levels of the atmosphere. The winds blow from west to east in jet streams, but the flow often shifts to the north and south. Jet streams follow the boundaries between hot and cold air.