What is wind?

Wind (from the Latin ventus) is the current of air produced in the atmosphere by natural causes. The wind, therefore, is a meteorological phenomenon originated in the rotation and translation movements of the Earth.

Solar radiation generates temperature differences in the atmosphere, which gives rise to differences in pressure and air movement. Wind speed can be used to produce energy (known as wind), but it is also dangerous as it can bring down large buildings. Seed displacement and erosion are other consequences of wind action.

For example: “It’s very windy; sailing is not advisable”, “The day is beautiful: lots of sun and no wind”. The first instrument created to detect the direction of the wind is blowing was the weather vane. It is a rotating device with a cross that indicates the cardinal points and is usually located in high places. A more advanced tool is the anemometer, which also measures wind speed and helps predict the weather. According to its intensity, the wind can receive different names. Milder winds are known as breezes, while stronger winds are tornadoes. All of these terms, however, have a more specific scientific meaning that is often overlooked by everyday language. Finally, the stream of particles emitted by a star’s atmosphere is known as the solar wind. Most of these particles are high-energy protons. Air movement The displacement of air in the troposphere (lower area of ​​the atmosphere) is the most significant for people and has two components: the vertical, of 10 kilometers or more and whose upward or downward movement compensates for the horizontal, and the horizontal , which spans thousands of kilometers and is the more important of the two. The observation of a tornado is very suitable for the understanding of these concepts, because while its whirlpool begins to spin at a considerable speed, with the known destructive consequences, and decreases with the increase of the wind, since the dimensions of the cone increase with the width . It is worth mentioning that these statements, obtained from the study of tornadoes, are also true for all types of wind, since they are part of the various processes they undergo. The same transition that occurs in this case, from a linear motion to a spinning motion that rises vertically, can be observed in whirlpools as well as in hurricanes and cumulonimbus, with certain differences in size and extent.

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On the other hand, there are the winds that travel important distances, which also go through this process. A clear example is the trade winds, which travel between the equator and the tropics, going from northwest to southwest and vice versa, crossing the northern and southern hemispheres. When they are at the equator, they undergo a forced ascent, mainly due to the high concentration of matter, and generate clouds and heavy rain, which results in a great decrease in speed. When rising air cools and loses the moisture it was carrying, due to condensation and rain, the result is dry, cool air. The lower the temperature, the more weight; consequently, it tends to descend towards the surface in an inclined motion that starts at the equator and continues towards the tropics, veering to the right to finally complete the cycle of the trade winds. In this way, the principle of conservation of matter is fulfilled, according to studies carried out by Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier, a French chemist and biologist from the 18th century.

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