What Is Wind?

We know there are windy days and not so windy ones but what exactly makes the air move? Wind occurs because the sun unevenly heats the Earth’s surface.

The reason sunlight is absorbed differently is because our water and land formations are shaped differently. In the places where the direct sun shines all year, the land and atmosphere become warm. Warm air weighs less than cold air so it rises.

When cool air moves in and replaces the rising warm air, there is movement – and it gets windy!

The wind blows because of the movement between cold and warm air. There are all types of winds. A “gust front” rushes out of – and down from – a thunderstorm. The “trade winds” sound shifty but they are steady warm breezes that blow toward the equator and always appear to be curving to the west.

Sometimes the winds are simply the “doldrums” a merging of the south and north trade winds at the equator, producing calm weather.  Talk more about air in motion with your children by observing the direction of windsocks and weathervanes and why windmills go round and round.

For more information about everything wind, go to www.weatherwizkids.com

Content provided by Oakland University

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