Learn About It: Winds

Information about Local and Global Winds

What Is Wind?

Wind is the natural movement of the air, usually in the form of air blowing from a certain direction. Wind is caused by the differences of atmospheric pressure.

Wind is split up into 2 categories: Local Winds and Global Winds

Local Winds

Local Winds are caused by the unequal heating of Earth's surface in a small area.

Sea Breeze

A sea breeze is a local wind that blows from an ocean or lake. It takes more energy to warm up a body of water than it does to warm up and equal area of land.

Land Breeze

The flow of air from a area of land to a body of water is called a land breeze. Land cools more quickly than water, so the air over the land becomes cooler than the air over the water.

Global Winds

Global Winds are winds that blow over long distances. As the warmer air over the equator rises, colder air from the poles rushes toward the equator to take its place. This steady exchange of warm and cold air that occurs between the equator and the poles produces global wind belts. This is basically a "large convection current".


The Doldrums are an equatorial region of the Atlantic Ocean with calms, sudden storms, and light winds. The doldrums is caused by the expanding atmosphere due to heating at the equator, which makes the air rise and travel north and south high in the atmosphere, until it recede again in the horse latitudes.

Jet Streams

Jet Streams are air currents encircling the globe several miles above the earth. There are typically two or three jet streams in each of the northern and southern hemispheres.

Prevailing Westerlies

The Prevailing Westerlies are the winds in the middle latitudes between 35 and 65 degrees latitude. They tend to blow from the high pressure area in the horse latitudes towards the poles.

Polar Easterlies

The Polar Easterlies are the dry, cold prevailing winds that blow from the high-pressure areas of the polar highs at the north and south poles towards low-pressure areas within the Prevailing Westerlies at high latitudes.

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