# Wind

Wind refers to any flow of air above Earth's surface in a roughly horizontal direction. A wind is always named according to the direction from which it blows. For example, a wind blowing from west to east is a west wind.

The ultimate cause of Earth's winds is solar energy. When sunlight strikes Earth's surface, it heats that surface differently. Newly turned soil, for example, absorbs more heat than does snow. Uneven heating of Earth's surface, in turn, causes differences in air pressure at various locations. Heated air rises, creating an area of low pressure beneath. Cooler air descends, creating an area of high pressure. Since the atmosphere constantly seeks to restore balance, air from areas of high pressure always flow into adjacent areas of low pressure. This flow of air is wind. The difference in air pressure between two adjacent air masses over a horizontal distance is called the pressure gradient force. The greater the difference in pressure, the greater the force and the stronger the wind.

## The Coriolis effect and wind direction

An important factor affecting the direction in which winds actually blow is the Coriolis effect, named for French mathematician Gaspard-Gustave de Coriolis (17921843). In 1835, Coriolis discovered that a force appears to be operating on any moving object situated on a rotating body, such as a stream of air traveling on the surface of a rotating planet. Because of the spinning of Earth, any moving object above the planet's surface tends to drift sideways from its course of motion. Thus winds are deflected from their straightforward direction. In the Northern Hemisphere, the Coriolis effect tends to drive winds to the right. In the Southern Hemisphere, it tends to drive winds to the left.

## Words to Know

Coriolis effect: A force exemplified by a moving object appearing to travel in a curved path over the surface of a spinning body.

Local winds: Small-scale winds that result from differences in temperature and pressure in localized areas.

Pressure gradient force: Difference in air pressure between two adjacent air masses over a horizontal distance.

## Friction and wind movement

The Coriolis effect and pressure gradient forces are the only factors affecting the movement of winds in the upper atmosphere. Such is not the case near ground level, however. An additional factor affecting air movements near Earth's surface is friction. As winds pass over the surface, they encounter surface irregularities (hills, mountains, etc.) and slow down. The decrease in wind speed means that the Coriolis effect acting on the winds also decreases. Since the pressure gradient force remains constant, the wind direction is driven more strongly toward the lower air pressure, often resulting in gusts.

## Local winds

Local winds are small-scale winds that result from differences in temperature and pressure in localized areas. Sea and land breezes are typical of such winds. Along coastal areas, winds tend to blow onshore during the day and offshore during the evening. This is because dry land heats up and cools down quicker than water. During the day, air over land heats up and rises. Cooler air over the water then moves onshore (sea breeze). At night, air over the water remains warm and rises. The nowcooler air over land is then pushed out to sea (land breeze).

The presence of mountains and valleys also produces specialized types of local winds. For example, Southern Californians are familiar with the warm, dry Santa Ana winds that regularly sweep down out of the San Gabriel and San Bernadino Mountains, through the San Fernando Valley, and into the Los Angeles Basin. As the air blows over the mountains and sinks down into the valleys, it creates high pressure. The high pressure, in turn, compresses the air and heats it. These warm winds often contribute to widespread and devastating wildfires.

## Wind chill

Wind chill is the temperature felt by humans as a result of air blowing over exposed skin. The temperature that humans actually feel can be

quite different from the temperature measured in the same location with a thermometer. In still air, skin is normally covered with a thin layer of warm molecules that insulates the body, keeping it slightly warmer than the air around it. When the wind begins to blow, that layer of molecules is swept away, and body heat is lost to the surrounding atmosphere. An individual begins to feel colder than would be expected from the actual thermometer reading at the same location. The faster the wind blows, the more rapidly heat is lost and the colder the temperature appears to be.

The National Weather Service has published a wind chill chart that shows the relationship among actual temperature, wind speed, and wind chill factor. Wind chill factor is the temperature felt by a person at the given wind speed. According to this chart, individuals do not sense any change in temperature with wind speeds of 4 miles (6 kilometers) per hour or less. The colder the temperature, the more strongly the wind chill factor is felt. When the wind chill factor is below 58°F (50°C), flesh will freeze in about one minute.

## Wind shear

Wind shear occurs between two air currents in the atmosphere that are traveling at different speeds or in different directions. The friction that occurs at the boundary of these two currents is an indication of wind shear.

Wind shear is a crucial factor in the development of other atmospheric phenomena. For example, as the difference between adjacent wind currents increases, the wind shear also increases. At some point, the boundary between currents may break apart and form eddies (circular currents) that can develop into clear air turbulence or, in more drastic circumstances, tornadoes and other violent storms.

Under certain storm conditions, a wind shear will travel in a vertical direction. The phenomenon is known as a microburst, a strong downdraft or air which, when it reaches the ground, continues to spread out horizontally. An airplane that attempts to fly through a microburst feels, in rapid succession, an additional lift from headwinds and then a sudden loss of lift from tailwinds. In such a case, a pilot may not be able to maintain control of the aircraft in time to prevent a crash.

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## wind

wind, flow of air relative to the earth's surface. A wind is named according to the point of the compass from which it blows, e.g., a wind blowing from the north is a north wind.

Wind Direction and Velocity

The direction of wind is usually indicated by a thin strip of wood, metal, or plastic (often in the shape of an arrow or a rooster) called a weather vane or weathercock (but more appropriately called a wind vane) that is free to rotate in a horizontal plane. When mounted on an elevated shaft or spire, the vane rotates under the influence of the wind such that its center of pressure rotates to leeward and the vane points into the wind.

Wind velocity is measured by means of an anemometer or radar. The oldest of these is the cup anemometer, an instrument with three or four small hollow metal hemispheres set so that they catch the wind and revolve about a vertical rod; an electrical device records the revolutions of the cups and thus the wind velocity. The pressure tube anemometer, used primarily in Commonwealth nations, is conceptually a Pitot tube mounted on a wind vane. As the wind blows across the tube, a pressure differential is created that can be mathematically related to wind speed. Doppler radar can be used to measure wind speed by shooting pulses of microwaves that are reflected off rain, dust, and other particles in the air, much like the radar guns used by the police to determine the speed of an automobile. Although the U.S. National Weather Service has estimated that tornado winds have reached a velocity of 500 mph (800 kph), the highest wind speeds ever documented, 318 mph (516 kph), were measured using Doppler radar during a tornado in Oklahoma in 1999.

The first successful attempt to standardize the nomenclature of winds of different velocities was the Beaufort scale, devised (c.1805) by Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort of the British navy. An adaptation of Beaufort's scale is used by the U.S. National Weather Service; it employs a scale ranging from 0 for calm to 12 for hurricane, each velocity range being identified by its effects on such things as trees, signs, and houses. Winds may also be classified according to their origin and movement, such as heliotropic winds, which include land and sea breezes, and cyclonic winds, which blow counterclockwise in low-pressure regions of the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.

Prevailing Winds and General Circulation Patterns

Over some zones around the earth, winds blow predominantly in one direction throughout the year and are usually associated with the rotation of the earth; over other areas, the prevailing direction changes with the seasons; winds over most areas also are variable from day to day so that no prevailing direction is evident, such as, for example, the day-to-day changes in local winds associated with storms or clearing skies. Around the equator there is a belt of relatively low pressure known as the doldrums, where the heated air is expanding and rising; at about lat. 30°N and S there are belts of high pressure known as the horse latitudes, regions of descending air; farther poleward, near lat. 60°N and S, are belts of low pressure, where the polar front is located and cyclonic activity is at a maximum; finally there are the polar caps of high pressure.

The prevailing wind systems of the earth blow from the several belts of high pressure toward adjacent low-pressure belts. Because of the earth's rotation (see Coriolis effect), the winds do not blow directly northward or southward to the area of lower pressure, but are deflected to the right in the Northern Hemisphere and to the left in the Southern Hemisphere. The wind systems comprise the trade winds; the prevailing westerlies, moving outward from the poleward sides of the horse-latitude belts toward the 60° latitude belts of low pressure (from the southwest in the Northern Hemisphere and from the northwest in the Southern Hemisphere); and the polar easterlies, blowing outward from the polar caps of high pressure and toward the 60° latitude belts of low pressure.

This zonal pattern of winds is displaced northward and southward seasonally because of the inclination of the earth on its axis and the consequent migration of the belts of temperature and pressure. In addition, the pattern is considerably modified by the distribution of land and water, especially in the temperate regions, where temperature differences between land and water are greatest. In winter, areas of high pressure tend to build up over cold continental land masses, while low-pressure development takes place over the adjacent, relatively warm oceans. Exactly the opposite conditions occur during summer, although to a lesser degree. These contrasting pressures over land and water areas are the cause of monsoon winds.

Superimposed upon the general circulation of winds are many lesser disturbances, such as the extratropical cyclone (the common storm of the temperate latitudes), the tropical cyclone, or hurricane, the tornado, and the derecho; each of these storms moves generally along a path that follows the direction of the prevailing winds.

Localized Influences on Wind Patterns

The diurnal, or daily, heating and cooling of land near a lake or ocean of fairly constant temperature causes air to blow toward the relatively warmer land during the day (sea breeze) and toward the relatively warmer water at night (land breeze). These breezes are shallow and seldom penetrate far inland or attain high velocity. Similar diurnal changes occur on mountain slopes, the air in the valley becoming heated and expanding so that it moves up the slope in the daytime, the cold air settling into the valley at night. Friction with the earth's surface, eddies caused by surface irregularities, and inequalities of heating with consequent convection currents tend to reduce wind velocity near the earth's surface and cause winds to blow in gusts.

Bibliography

See A. Watts, Instant Wind Forecasting (1988); P. Gipe, Wind Energy Comes of Age (1995); J. DeBlieu, Wind: How the Flow of Air Has Shaped Life, Myth, and the Land (1999).

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## wind

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# Wind

Wind refers to any flow of air relative to the earth's surface in a roughly horizontal direction. Breezes that blow back and forth from a body of water to adjacent land areason-shore and off-shore breezes, or land and sea breezesare examples of local wind. Winds, driven by large pressure systems also exist in great wind belts that comprise the earth's atmospheric circulation .

The ultimate cause of Earth's winds is solar energy . When sunlight strikes Earth's surface, it heats that surface differently. Newly turned soil , for example, absorbs more heat than does snow.

Uneven heating of Earth's surface, in turn, causes differences in air pressure at various locations. On a weather map, these pressure differences can be found by locating isobars , lines that connect points of equal pressure. The pressure at two points on two different isobars will be different. A pressure gradient is said to exist between these two points. It is this pressure gradient that provides the force that drives air from one point to the other, causing wind to blow from one point to the other. The magnitude of the winds blowing between any two points is determined by the pressure gradient between those two points.

In an ideal situation, one could draw the direction of winds blowing over an area simply by looking at the isobars on a weather map. The earth, however, is not an ideal situation. At least two important factors affect the direction in which winds actually blow: the Coriolis effect and friction. The Coriolis effect is an apparent force that appears to be operating on any moving object situated on a rotating body, such as a stream of air traveling on the surface of the rotating planet. The Coriolis effect deflects winds from the straightforward direction across isobars. In the Northern Hemisphere, the Coriolis effect tends to deflect winds right of path and in the Southern Hemisphere, it tends to drive winds left of path.

For example, wind in the Northern Hemisphere initially begins to move from west to east as a result of pressure gradient forces. The Coriolis effect results in a deflection of the wind right of path. This results in air moving out of a high-pressure system (an area of divergence) to spin clockwise. Conversely, air moving into a low pressure area (an area of convergence) also deflected right of path, is spun counterclockwise.

The actual path followed by the wind is a compromise between the pressure gradient force and the Coriolis force. Since each of these forces can range widely in value, the precise movement of wind in any one case is also variable. At some point, the two forces driving the wind are likely to come into balance. At that point, the wind begins to move in a straight line that is perpendicular to the direction of the two forces. Such a wind is known as a geostrophic wind.

The Coriolis effect is most pronounced on winds farther from the surface of the earth. At distances of more than a half a mile or so above the ground pressure gradient and Coriolis forces are the only factors affecting the movement of winds. Thus, air movements eventually reach an equilibrium point between pressure gradient forces and the Coriolis force, and geostrophic winds blow parallel to the isobars on a weather map.

Such is not the case near ground level, however. An additional factor affecting air movements near the Earth's surface is friction. As winds pass over the earth's surface, they encounter surface irregularities and slow down. The decrease in wind speed means that the Coriolis effect acting on the winds also decreases. Since the pressure gradient force remains constant, the wind direction is driven more strongly toward the lower air pressure. Instead of developing into geostrophic winds, as is the case in the upper atmosphere, the winds tend to curve inward towards the center of a low pressure area or to spiral outward away from the center of a high pressure area.

Friction effects vary significantly with the nature of the terrain over which the wind is blowing. On very hilly land, winds may be deflected by 30 degrees or more, while on flat lands, the effects may be nearly negligible.

In many locations, wind patterns exist that are not easily explained by the general principles outlined above. In most cases, unusual topographic or geographic features are responsible for such winds, known as local winds. Land and sea breezes are typical of such winds. Because water heats up and cools down more slowly than does dry land, the air along a shoreline is alternately warmer over the water and cooler over the land, and vice versa. These differences account for the fact that winds tend to blow offshore during the evening and on-shore during the day.

The presence of mountains and valleys also produces specialized types of local winds. Annual changes in weather patterns produce seasonal winds such as the dry Santa Ana winds in Southern California.

See also Air masses and fronts; Atmospheric composition and structure; Atmospheric inversion layers; Jet stream; Weather forecasting methods; Wind chill; Wind shear

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# 420. Wind

ancraophobia
an abnormal fear of wind.
anemography
Rare. the recording of the measurement of wind speed by an anemometer. anemographic , adj.
anemology
the science of the winds. anemological , adj.
anemometer
an instrument for indicating wind velocity.
anemometry
the measurement of wind speed and direction, often by an anemometrograph. anemometric, anemometrical , adj.
anemophilia
wind-loving, said of plants that are fertilized only through the action of winds. anemophile , n. anemophilous , adj.
anemophobia
an abnormal fear of drafts or winds. anemophobe , n.
anemoscope
an instrument for recording the direction of the wind.
bise, bize
a cold, dry wind that blows from the north or northeast in south central Europe.
breeze
a light wind, 4 to 27 knots on the Beaufort scale.
cyclone
an atmospheric disturbance characterized by powerful winds spinning in the shape of a vertical cylinder or horizontal disk, accompanied by low pressure at the center. cyclonic , adj.
cyclonology
the study of cyclones. cyclonologist , n.
foehn, föhn
a warm, dry wind that blows down the side of a mountain, as on the north side of the Alps.
gale
a strong wind, 28 to 55 knots on the Beaufort scale.
haboob
a heavy dust- or sandstorm of N. Africa, Arabia, and India.
hurricane
a extremely strong wind, usually accompanied by foul weather, more than 65 knots on the Beaufort scale.
levanter
a strong east wind in the Mediterranean region.
mistral
a cold, dry wind that blows from the north in the south of France and vicinity.
Santa Ana
a hot, dry, dust-bearing wind that blows from inland desert regions in southern California.
sirocco
1. a hot, dry, dust-laden wind that blows on the northern Mediterranean coast from Africa.
2. a sultry southeast wind in the same regions.
3. a hot, oppressive wind of cyclonic origin, as in Kansas.
a highly localized, violent windstorm occurring over land, usually in the U.S. Midwest, characterized by a vertical, funnel-shaped cloud.
twister
whirlwind.
typhoon
a cyclone or hurricane in the western Pacific Ocean.
whirlwind
any wind that has a spinning motion and is conflned to a small area in the shape of a vertical cylinder.

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# 698. Wind

1. Aeolian harp musical instrument activated by winds. [Gk. Myth.: Jobes, 40]
2. Aeolus steward of winds; gives bag of winds to Odysseus. [Gk. Myth: Kravitz, 10; Gk. Lit.: Odyssey ]
3. Afer (Africus) southwest wind. [Gk. Myth.: Kravitz, 11]
4. Apeliotes (Lips) east or southeast wind. [Gk. Myth.: Kravitz, 27]
5. Aquilo equivalent of Boreas, the Greek north wind. [Rom. Myth.: Kravitz, 30]
6. Argestes name of the east wind. [Gk. Myth.: Kravitz, 32]
7. Aura goddess of breezes. [Gk. Myth.: Kravitz, 42]
8. Auster the southwest wind. [Rom. Myth.: Kravitz, 42]
9. Boreas god of the north wind. [Gk. Myth.: Parrinder, 49]
10. Caicas the northeast wind. [Gk. Myth.: Kravitz, 50]
11. Corns god of the north or northwest wind. [Rom. Myth.: Jobes, 374]
12. Eurus (Volturnus) the southeast wind. [Gk. Myth.: Kravitz, 97, 238]
13. Favonius ancient Roman personification of west wind. [Rom. Myth.: Howe, 103]
14. Gentle Annis weather spirit; controls gales on Firth of Cromarty. [Scot. Folklore: Briggs, 185]
15. gregale (Euroclydon) cold, northeast wind over the central Mediterranean. [Meteorology: EB, IV: 724; N.T.: Acts 27:14]
16. Keewaydin the Northwest Wind, to whose regions Hiawatha ultimately departed. [Am. Lit.: Longfellow The Song of Hiawatha in Magill I, 905]
17. Mudjekeewis Indian chief; held dominion over all winds. [Am. Lit.: Hiawatha in Benét, 466]
18. Njord god of the north wind. [Norse Myth.: Wheeler, 260]
19. Ruach isle of winds. [Fr. Lit.: Pantagruel ]
20. Sleipnir Odins eight-legged horse; symbolizes the wind that blows from eight points. [Norse Myth.: Benét, 937]
21. Zephyrus the west wind. [Gk. Myth.: Kravitz, 38, 242]

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## wind

wind the perceptible natural movement of the air, especially in the form of a current of air blowing from a particular direction, especially (in the four winds) blowing from each of the points of the compass, and often personified as such. The wind is traditionally taken as a type of swift light movement; it can also stand for mutability, and as a force that cannot be predicted or controlled.

In classical mythology, the winds were counted as gods; in Greece, Boreas (the North Wind) and Zephyr (the West Wind) were of particular importance. Virgil in the Aeneid describes the winds as being under the control of Aeolus, who had been given charge of them by Zeus and who kept them confined in a cave.
when the wind is in the east, 'tis neither good for man nor beast proverbial saying, early 17th century, referring to the traditional bitterness of the east wind (in Dickens's Bleak House (1853), Mr Jarndyce uses the expression ‘the wind's in the east’ to describe unpleasant or unwelcome circumstances).
wind of change an influence or tendency to change that cannot be resisted; the phrase in this sense derives from a speech in February 1960 by the Conservative politician Harold Macmillan (1894–1986) about the current of unstoppable change he was seeing in Africa.

See also God tempers the wind, it's an ill wind, north wind doth blow, raise the wind, a reed before the wind, they that sow the wind at sow2, three sheets in the wind, whistle down the wind.

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## wind

wind Air current that moves rapidly parallel to the Earth's surface. (Air currents in vertical motion are called updraughts or downdraughts.) Wind direction is indicated by wind or weather vanes, wind speed by anemometers and wind force by the Beaufort wind scale. Steady winds in the tropics are called trade winds. Monsoons are seasonal winds that bring predictable rains in Asia. Föhns (foehns) are warm, dry winds produced by compression, accompanied by temperature rise as air descends the lee of mountainous areas in the Alps; a similar wind, called a Chinook, exists in the Rockies. Siroccos are hot, humid Mediterranean winds.

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## wind

wind1 air in motion. OE. wind = OS. wind, OHG. wint (Du., G. wind), ON. vindr, Goth. winds :- Gmc. *windaz, based on IE. prp. *went- (whence L. ventus wind, W. gwynt), with parallel forms on *wě- in OSl. vĕjati blow, OIr. feth air, Gr. áēsi (:- *aϝēsi) blows, Skr. vā́ti blows. Comp. windfall something blown down by the wind XV; unexpected acquisition XVI.

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# Wind

Breezes cause the surface to be broken up, and this impairs the fishs vision. Calmer water presents the fish with a clearer vision field. Additionally birds of prey have difficulty spotting fish under a broken surface. Fish are easier to approach on a windy day as compared to a calm one. Also, the wind moves the riparian growth and fish have trouble spotting your movements.

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## wind

wind2 pt., pp. wound †move in a certain direction OE.; move in a circular path XIII; pass (a thing) round something else XIV; set (a mechanism) in order XVII. OE. str. vb. windan = OS. windan, OHG. wintan (Du., G. winden), ON. vinda, Goth. *windan :- Gmc. *windan, rel. to *wand- in WEND.

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# Wind

wind instruments in an orchestra; their players collectively, 1876.

Examples: wind of adulation, 1480; of doctrines, 1526; of hope, 1591; of laughter, 1859; of passions, 1665; of praise, 1634.

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## wind

wind3
A. get the wind of XV; deprive of breath XIX;

B. sound a horn, etc. by blowing into it XVI. f. WIND1.

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"wind." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. . Retrieved April 28, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/wind-5

## wind

winddownwind, Lind, prescind, rescind, Sind, upwind, wind •Wedekind • wunderkind • Rosalind •unexamined • undetermined •tamarind • uncurtained • headwind •tradewind • tailwind • crosswind •woodwind • whirlwind •affined, behind, bind, blind, find, grind, hind, humankind, interwind, kind, mankind, mind, nonaligned, resigned, rind, unaligned, unassigned, unconfined, undefined, undersigned, undesigned, unlined, unrefined, unsigned, wynd •spellbind • womankind • snowblind •sunblind • colourblind • purblind •mastermind •abscond, beau monde, beyond, blonde, bond, correspond, demi-monde, despond, fond, frond, Gironde, haut monde, pond, respond, ronde, second, wand •Eurobond • vagabond • millpond •dewpond • Trebizond •unadorned, unmourned, unwarned