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Wind is air in motion. It is produced by the uneven
heating of the earths surface by the sun. Since the
earths surface is made of various land and water
formations, it absorbs the suns radiation unevenly. OR
Wind is the flow of gases on a large scale. On the
surface of the Earth, wind consists of the bulk
movement of air.
A big layer of air called the atmosphere surrounds the
Earth. The air within this layer moves from place to
place when it warms up or cools down.
This moving air is known as wind.

Two factors are necessary to specify wind:
speed and direction.
What Is Wind?
What causes the wind to blow?
As the earth is affected by an unequally of heat energy from the
sun, the state of the air differentiate between different regions.
Warm air expands and rises up while cold air condenses and
sinks, hence resulting the flow of air and forms 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, which weighs less than cold air, rises.
Then cool air moves in and replaces the rising warm air. This
movement of air is what makes the wind blow.
In meteorology, unless otherwise specified, wind means the
horizontal motion of airflow and signifies with wind direction
and wind speed (wind force).

Winds are commonly classified by

their spatial scale,
their speed,
the types of forces that cause them, the regions in
which they occur, and their effect.
winds are often referred to according to their
strength, and the direction from which the wind is

Strong winds of intermediate duration (around one
minute) are termed squalls. Long-duration winds
have various names associated with their average
strength, such as breeze, gale, storm, hurricane,
and typhoon.
Mountain wave schematic. The
wind flows towards a mountain
and produces a first oscillation
(A). A second wave occurs further
away and higher. The lenticular
clouds form at the peak of the
waves (B
Near mountains

Over elevated surfaces, heating of the ground exceeds the heating of
the surrounding air at the same altitude above sea level, creating an
associated thermal low over the terrain and enhancing any thermal lows
that would have otherwise existed, and changing the wind circulation of
the region. In areas where there is rugged topography that significantly
interrupts the environmental wind flow, the wind circulation between
mountains and valleys is the most important contributor to the prevailing
Prevailing Winds

The direction of wind is measured in terms of where
the air is coming from. A northerly wind blows air
from north to south.
A southwesterly wind blows air from the southwest to
the northeast.
The prevailing wind is the wind that blows most
frequently across a particularly region. Different
regions on Earth have different prevailing wind
directions which are dependent upon the nature of the
general circulation of the atmosphere and the
latitudinal wind zones.
In general, the following prevailing winds across the
Earth may be identified, although variations arise due
to the positions and differential heating rates of
the continents and oceans.
What are the trade winds?
The trade winds are just air movements toward the
equator. They are warm, steady breezes that blow
almost continuously. The Coriolis Effect makes the
trade winds appear to be curving to the west, whether
they are traveling to the equator from the south or

What are the doldrums?
The doldrums is an area of calm weather. The trade
winds coming from the south and the north meet near
the equator. These converging trade winds produce
general upward winds as they are heated, so there are
no steady surface winds.

What are the prevailing westerlies?
Between thirty and sixty degrees latitude, the winds that move
toward the poles appear to curve to the east. Because winds are
named from the direction in which they originate, these winds
are called prevailing westerlies. Prevailing westerlies in the
Northern Hemisphere are responsible for many of the weather
movements across the United States and Canada.

What are the polar easterlies?
At about sixty degrees latitude in both hemispheres, the
prevailing westerlies join with the polar easterlies to reduce
upward motion. The polar easterlies form when the atmosphere
over the poles cools. This cool air then sinks and spreads over the
surface. As the air flows away from the poles, it is turned to the
west by the Coriolis effect. Again, because these winds begin in
the east, they are called easterlies.
Latitude Direction Common Name
90-60N NE Polar Easterlies
60-30N SW Southwest Antitrades
30-0N NE Northeast Trades
0-30S SE Southeast Trades
30-60S NW Roaring Forties
90-60S SE Polar Easterlies
Prevailing winds in the Indian Oceans are northeasterly. During
the summer months however, a larger low-pressure system
develops over southern Asia due to continental
heating. Winds in this region now reverse to form the
Southwest Monsoons, which bring a prolonged wet season to
Southeast Asia and the subcontinent of India.
Easterly winds, on average, dominate the flow
pattern across the poles, westerly winds blow
across the mid-latitudes of the earth,
polewards of the subtropical ridge, while
easterlies again dominate the tropics.
Directly under the subtropical ridge are the
doldrums, or horse latitudes, where winds are
lighter. Many of the Earth's deserts lie near the
average latitude of the subtropical ridge, where
descent reduces the relative humidity of the air
mass. The strongest winds are in the mid-
latitudes where cold polar air meets warm air
from the tropics.
Effect of prevailing wind on a coniferous tree

The use of natural winds to enhance the
living environment is another solution offered by climatic
design. "Air movement is essentially a design issue. One of the
easiest things to do is close the building and air-condition it.
A place like Bangalore does not need air conditioning for most
part of the year. So using air movement and ventilation
effectively can cut down energy needs. To improve cooling, a
building's windows should be placed and designed to capture
prevailing winds. And also suggests the use of 'venturi effect'.
It is essentially about looking at design in volumes i.e. when
you force a wind to move into a narrow opening and expand
into a larger volume, the effect can be quite incredible.
This design strategy creates what is referred to as wind tunnels
and keeps the living spaces cool and airy.
Local winds around the world. These winds are
formed through the heating of land (from
mountains or flat terrain)

A: Sea breeze (occurs at daytime),
What is a sea breeze?
On a warm summer day along the coast, this differential
heating of land and sea leads to the development of local winds
called sea breezes. As air above the land surface is heated by
radiation from the Sun, it expands and begins to rise, being
lighter than the surrounding air. To replace the rising air, cooler
air is drawn in from above the surface of the sea. This is the sea
breeze, and can offer a pleasant cooling influence on hot
summer afternoons.

B: Land breeze (occurs at night)
In coastal regions, sea breezes and land breezes can be
important factors in a location's prevailing winds.
The sea is warmed by the sun more slowly because of water's
greater specific heat compared to land.

As the temperature of the surface of the land rises, the land
heats the air above it by conduction. The warm air is less dense
than the surrounding environment and so it rises.
What is a land breeze?
A land breeze occurs at night when the land cools faster than
the sea. In this case, it is air above the warmer surface water that
is heated and rises, pulling in air from the cooler land surface.
Type & Description of wind Effects observed on the sea
Calm Sea is like a mirror
Light air Ripples with appearance of scales;
no foam crests
Light breeze Small wavelets; crests of glassy
appearance, not breaking
Gentle breeze Large wavelets; crests begin to break;
scattered whitecaps
Moderate breeze Small waves, becoming longer;
numerous whitecaps
Fresh breeze Moderate waves, taking longer form;
many whitecaps; some spray
Strong breeze Larger waves forming; whitecaps
everywhere; more spray
Near gale Sea heaps up; white foam from
breaking waves begins to be blown
in streaks
Gale Moderately high waves of greater
Strong gale High waves; sea begins to roll;
Storm Very high waves with overhanging
Violent storm Exceptionally high waves; sea
covered with white foam patches;
Hurricane Air filled with foam; sea completely
white with driving spray
All of these winds are part of a global air circulation system
that acts to balance temperature and pressure around the
world. We already know that different parts of the world
receive different amounts of heat from the sun.
This differential heating in turn results in differences in
temperature and air pressure around the world which
drives the worlds winds.
The equator receives the Sun's direct rays. Here, air is heated
and rises, leaving low pressure areas behind. Moving to
about thirty degrees north and south of the equator, the
warm air from the equator begins to cool and sink. Between
thirty degrees latitude and the equator, most of the cooling
sinking air moves back to the equator. The rest of the air
flows toward the poles.

As equatorial areas are heated most, the air
above them warms and rises as it becomes
lighter than the surrounding air, causing an
area of low pressure. In cooler areas, the
air sinks because it is heavier and results in
an area of high pressure. Winds will blow
as air is squashed out by the sinking cold
air and drawn in under the rising warm air.
Any difference in temperature like this will
always cause a difference in air pressure
and therefore winds will blow. A good
expression to remember is that:

"winds blow from high to low" (ie: from
high pressure to low pressure)
What is a monsoon?
A monsoon is a seasonal wind, found especially in Asia that
reverses direction between summer and winter and often brings
heavy rains.
In the summer, a high pressure area lies over the Indian Ocean
while a low exists over the Asian continent. The air masses move
from the high pressure over the ocean to the low over the
continent, bringing moisture-laden air to south Asia.
During winter, the process is reversed and a low sits over the
Indian Ocean while a high lies over the Tibetan plateau so air
flows down the Himalaya and south to the ocean. The migration
of trade winds and westerlies also contributes to the monsoons.
Smaller monsoons take place in equatorial Africa, northern
Australia, and, to a lesser extent, in the southwestern United
The wind direction is not the same throught
the year . It changes from season to season.
Over Pondicherry , the wind will be from either
west or southwest during
southwest monsoon season,ie June to

It will be from northeast or north during
Northeast monsoon season,ie October to
December. However , Sea breeze plays an
important role as Pondicherry is a coastal
station . When westerly winds are
weak(particularly during south west monsoon
season) sea breeze over rides and blows from
the east in the afternoon timings on most of
the days.

During northeast monsoon season the sea breeze strengthens
the already prevailing easterly winds . Thus easterly winds
blow most of the days in a year particularly in the afternoon .
However the sea breeze can penetrate only upto a maximum of
20 kms inside the land.
Wind is caused by differences in atmospheric pressure. When
a difference in atmospheric pressure exists, air moves from the
higher to the lower pressure area, resulting in winds of various
speeds. On a rotating planet, air will also be deflected by
the Coriolis effect, except exactly on the equator.
Globally, the two major driving factors of large-scale wind
patterns (the atmospheric circulation) are the differential heating
between the equator and the poles (difference in absorption
of solar energy leading to buoyancy forces) and the rotation of
the planet.
Outside the tropics and a loft from frictional effects of the
surface, the large-scale winds tend to approach geostrophic

Why does the wind blow?
There are three forces that cause the wind to blow in the direction that it does:

1. Pressure Gradient Force
2. Coriolis Force
3. Friction

Coriolis Force
Near the Earth's surface, friction causes the wind to be
slower than it would be otherwise. Surface friction
also causes winds to blow more inward into low
pressure areas. A new, controversial theory, suggests
atmospheric gradients are caused by forest induced
water condensation resulting in a positive feedback
cycle of forests drawing moist air from the coastline
Winds defined by an equilibrium of physical forces
are used in the decomposition and analysis of wind
profiles. They are useful for simplifying the
atmospheric equations of motion and for making
qualitative arguments about the horizontal and
vertical distribution of winds.
The orientation can defend undesirable effects of worse
weather. While planning to build a new house, ask your
architect to design building in such a way that energy loss is
Benefits of building orientation :
Energy saving
Orientation of building is energy efficient approach as the
building orientation saves heating, cooling and lighting cost.
Breeze/Natural Air
Orientation of building provides breeze is in warm and humid
climates. On the other hand, the orientation prevents hot winds
in hot and dry climates.
Natural ventilation
Building orientation provides natural ventilation and light
which is beneficial to the health of inhabitants of the house.

Wind load:

Wind acts horizontally on the exposed vertical surfaces
of walls, columns and inclined roof of the structure.

Orientation of building is to design building in such a way
as it receives maximum ventilation and natural light in
all climatic conditions. It provides comfortable living
conditions inside the house/building and saves energy bills
Cross ventilation is yet another idea.
It involves a window that opens to the wind allowing breezes into
the building and another window on the opposite side that lets
stagnant air to be flushed out.
This strategy creates continuous air movement in a space.

A windmill style of
Measurement of wind:

Wind direction is usually expressed in terms of the
direction from which it originates. For example,
a northerly wind blows from the north to the
south. Weather vanes pivot to indicate the direction of
the wind.

At airports, windsocks indicate wind direction, and can
also be used to estimate wind speed by the angle.

Wind speed is measured by anemometers, most
commonly using rotating cups or propellers. When a
high measurement frequency is needed (such as in
research applications), wind can be measured by the
propagation speed of ultrasound signals or by the effect
of ventilation on the resistance of a heated wire.

Average wind speeds
prevailing and local winds are not spread evenly
across the earth, which means that wind speeds
also differ by region. In addition, the wind speed
also increases with the altitude.
Potential Damage with Prevailing wind in relation To Built Spaces
Moderate damage
Minor or no damage
Considerable damage
Severe damage
Extreme damage
Total Destruction