What is wind?

I think it is kind of a vibration of air particles.

If so, is it a longitudinal or a transverse wave?

Or is it just a bunch of air particles being pushed?

Smells disperse in wind so the latter explanation might be a better. And breath also consists of movement of air particles.

But how can wind travel so far without stopping? Can it be the pressure produced by temperature difference pushing it? So could you say it can be attributed to a wave?

Any help would be appreciated, thank you.


2 Answers 2


Wind is a solar powered flow of the atmosphere.

The atmosphere is not uniformly heated: different areas have different solar power input. This uneven heating arises because some areas are in daylight, whereas others are in night, and different regions have different amounts of cloud cover and different colored terrain, so the albedo is uneven.

Uneven heating means that the atmospheric pressure is different at different points: these pressure differences pump air from one region to another. Moreover, the Earth's rotation through the incident sunlight - cyclic day and night - means that no region has a time-steady heat input. Therefore, the flows can never quite bring the system to steady state: you might think that a hot region's higher pressure would pump air to surrounding colder regions and equalise pressures, but no sooner does this happen than the day-night cycle switches the roles of these regions.

There is a great deal more to this story, in particular the Earth's rotation gives rise to Coriolis effects. But the flows ultimately come from nonuniform, nonsteady temperature arising from changing heat power inputs to different regions of the atmosphere.


How is wind formed?

So first I'll just quickly explain how wind is formed

Wind is caused by difference in atmospheric pressure.

Atmospheric pressure is a measurement that is given for the amount that air is pressing down on the Earth's surface.

There are differences in atmospheric pressure because the particles in liquids and gases can move around, they move from areas of higher level particle density to areas of lower level particle density.

As gases heat they become less dense and therefore rise above the denser gasses, this essentially this is what changes the atmospheric pressure and forms wind.

How far can wind travel?

Air will always move from areas of high and low pressure to negate the differences in atmospheric pressure and this will go on until pressure has balanced. So wind will travel as far as it needs to before this happens.

Some winds blow across huge distances, take the Trade Winds that are caused by a combination of the differences in atmospheric pressure between the poles and the equator and the Coriolis effect. The Trades are a almost constant winds that blow across the globe.

Would I say wind is a wave?

Wind is not a wave it is just air moving to areas of low pressure. But moving air can cause waves in the air much like the water in the oceans is not always moving in waves.


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