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Wind

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The movements of air masses that occur by natural causes, with a certain speed and force , are what we call wind . This meteorological phenomenon is originated by the movements of rotation and translation of the Earth.

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What is the wind?

Wind is the large-scale flow of gases that is produced when two air masses have different temperatures. The hottest corresponds to the lightest and the cold current to the densest , conforming to atmospheric currents . Said temperature difference is produced by solar radiation, which in turn causes differences in pressure and air movement.

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  • features
  • Types
  • Wind formation
  • Causes
  • Effects edit
  • Applications
  • Measurement
  • Importance

features

  • Direction: defined as the vector orientation in which the wind “blows” towards the horizon.
  • Speed ​​distribution: it is described as the energy produced by the wind, as it is always in motion . The closer to the ground, the lower the speed, increasing significantly with height.
  • Wind intensity: to determine this characteristic, the so-called Beaufort Scale is used , which is an empirical measurement based mainly on the state of the sea, its waves and the strength of the wind.
  • Air density: it is the relationship between the mass and the volume of the air at atmospheric pressure and temperature, being a key factor in estimating the eolic or energy potential of the wind.
  • Temperature: variations in temperatures are more significant than variations in air density or relative humidity . These variations help us better describe and understand local fluctuations in wind speed.
  • Wind potential: it is the ability of the wind to transform or set something in motion thanks to the energy it produces.

Types

Planetary winds

They are generated as a consequence of the movement of the earth’s rotation that causes an uneven heating of the atmosphere due to insolation and they come from centers of action arranged in latitudinal bands of high and low pressures. They are also responsible for transporting a really huge amount of energy , such as the trade winds and monsoons.

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Regional winds

They are determined by the distribution of land and seas, as well as by continental landforms.

Local winds

These present a displacement of air from areas of high pressure to areas of low pressure, determining the prevailing and prevailing winds of a more or less wide area. The following are types of local winds:

  • Sea and land breezes.
  • Valley breeze .
  • Mountain breeze.
  • Catabatic wind or that descend from the heights to the bottom of the valleys.
  • Winds that rise from the lowest areas to the highest or anabatic.

Wind formation

It originates as a consequence of the difference in atmospheric pressure and the different temperatures it produces. When an air mass is heated, the cooler air rises and takes its place. This causes the movement of air or wind that circulates through the troposphere .

Causes

The main causes of atmospheric air circulation are warming of the earth’s surface, causing high pressure centers (anticyclones) and low pressure centers (cyclones). But winds are also produced more globally, depending on the latitude and characteristics of the terrain.

For example, between the equator and the poles there is a great difference in temperatures , and this causes a very large air movement characterized by producing seasonal winds, more or less for the same date, blowing over certain countries.

Effects edit

First, it  acts as a transport agent , in the displacement of the seeds. It is also a powerful erosive agent , especially in areas with a dry or desert climate , where grains of sand blown by the wind can lead to the transformation and even denudation of the landforms. In this way, the sand forms accumulations called dunes, which move in the direction of the wind as the grains are dragged from the face facing the wind towards the face opposite it.

However, the wind is a very important destructive agent , as in the case of tornadoes and hurricanes where currents move with such speed and force that they can destroy ecosystems and entire structures.

Applications

Since ancient times, wind energy has been used to obtain mechanical energy, as in the case of mills. But it was not until the nineteenth century that commercial use to generate electricity began. Since then, the force of the wind has been used by means of wind turbines that directly convert the force of the wind into electrical energy in a more renewable and much less polluting way.

Measurement

For its measurement it is important to have the proper location of the following instruments:

  • Wind vanes or vane: s eñalan the direction from which the wind blows. They are generally instruments composed of two plates together at their direct edges and scattered at an angle , made of stainless steel, aluminum or plastic.
  • Fixed Mount Propeller Anemometers – Another instrument that measures horizontal and / or vertical direction using computer programs. Generally it is formed by a three-armed windlass, it moves around a vertical axis. These rotate with the wind and actuate a counter that indicates based on the number of revolutions.
  • Wind direction transducers: the perfect example for this type of instrument is the potentiometer , whose voltage varies depending on the wind direction.

Importance

In the development of human civilization, the wind has been an inspiration in mythology, affecting historical events and providing a source of energy for man.

From propelling sailboats through the seas, reducing fuel consumption in aeronautical ships, to shaping the relief through wind processes such as the formation of fertile soils or erosion . Thus, it is capable of changing entire topographies, mobilizing deserts and even destroying natural or man-made environments with its great strength. But it is also capable of creating and maintaining life, dispersing the seeds of certain plants, making their survival possible and balancing the production of the hydrological cycle .

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