The Windy Way

By Jessica Drozd

Explore the ways of WIND!

What is wind and how does it happpen?

Wind is the movement of air by differences in air pressure. If there is more difference in air pressure, there is a stronger wind. There are differences in air pressure because of uneven heating of the Earth's surface. The uneven heating causes pressure belts every 30 degrees latitude.

What are local winds?

Local winds travel over short distances. They only occur when larger-scale winds are weak. They are caused by geographical features that create changes in temperature. Types of local winds includes:

  • Sea Breezes
  • Land Breezes
  • Anabatic Winds
  • Katabatic Winds
  • Foehn Winds

Sea Breezes

A sea breeze occurs when cool air from the water moves to the land. This happens in the daytime. The air moves to the land to "fill in" the area where the warm air from the land was before it rose.

Land Breezes

A land breeze occurs when cool air from the land moves to the ocean. This happens at night. The now cold air from the land moves over the ocean to "refill" where the warm ocean air was before it rose.

What are global winds?

Both pressure belts and the Coriolis Affect create global winds. The pressure belts creates areas where cold air sinks and warm air rises. The warm air moves to the equator. But, eventually it changes because the warm air cools and fills where the warm air was. This happens all over the globe. It is called a convection current, and these are so large they scale over the whole globe. Because of the Coriolis Affect, the winds are not straight up and down, but are slightly curved. Types of global winds include:

  • Polar Easterlies
  • Prevailing Westerlies
  • Trade Winds
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Global Wind Simulation

This is a simulation of global winds and their path. It clearly shows the way that global winds travel around the globe. Click the bar above to view.

Horse Latitudes

The horse latitudes are at about 30 degrees latitude. This is an area where there the wind is very still. There are many deserts along this latitude line because of the still, dry air. But why are they called horse latitudes? This is because sailors would be stuck at this point (If you are an animal lover and supporter STOP READING HERE!) and have to throw the horses overboard to reduce the weight of the boat and continue on their journey.
The Coriolis Effect