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What is Wind?

Perhaps one of the most noticeable aspects of the weather is the wind. It can be a welcome breeze or a hazardous gale, and changes can occur rapidly. So, what causes the wind?

Profile picture for user WeatherPro
WeatherPro
16 May 2019

What is Wind?

Perhaps one of the most noticeable aspects of the weather is the wind. It can be a welcome breeze or a hazardous gale, and changes can occur rapidly. So, what causes the wind?

Profile picture for user WeatherPro
WeatherPro
16 May 2019
4 min read

Advertorial

While all of us have experienced wind, and describe what moving air feels like, it can be harder to explain why air moves in the first place.

Wind is the result of differences in air pressure in the atmosphere. Physics explains that gasses constantly seek a state of equilibrium. Our atmosphere, filled with it’s many different kinds of gas, is constantly trying to find a state of equilibrium, where all of the air pressure is evenly distributed across the surface of the earth. The strength of wind is related to the change in pressure per unit distance. The more that the pressure changes over a fixed distance, the stronger the wind. Increases in speed are frequently observed near a cold front where large pressure differences can occur over relatively short distances. Wind always blows from areas of higher pressure to areas of lower pressure.

Photo by Randy Fath on UnsplashDifferences in land surfaces, such as land versus water, can amplify winds as well. Winds can often be enhanced near a coast due to the difference in heating rates of land and sea. During the day, the ground warms more rapidly than the water, leading to higher pressure over the water than over land. Because the pressure is higher over land, the wind blows inland toward the lower pressure; this is called a sea breeze. At night, the earth cools at a faster rate than the water. As a result, the pressure becomes higher over land and the winds blow offshore, known as a land breeze. 

Wind makes it possible to sail, windsurf, and fly kites, but it also helps power cities. Wind turbines were regarded as an electricity source following the energy crisis in the 1970s. Considered a clean and efficient method to generate electricity, a turbine needs winds between 5 and 45 knots (6 and 52 mph). If winds are too light, the blades will not turn, and no electricity is generated. If the winds are too intense, the turbine can be damaged. Today, there are wind farms located in many areas around the world where winds are relatively consistent. 

By understanding how wind forms, you can better prepare yourself for outdoor activites. For in dept wind forecasts, and data on wind speed, direction, and duration;

Download the WeatherPro mobile app available on iOS and Android.

 

Photo by Thomas Young on Unsplash

About the author

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WeatherPro

At WeatherPro, we believe that good things happen when people step outside and great things happen to those who are prepared. We strive to empower life’s outdoor moments. #stepoutside