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Winds and Their Types


Three broad categories of wind types are:

Regular Winds: e.g. Trade winds, Easterlies and Polar Easterlies

Prevailing Winds/ Planetary Periodical Winds: (which blow seasonally) Monsoon

Variable Winds: Cyclones and other local winds


Also Read: Monsoon, Floods and Droughts

Trade Winds

Trade in German means ‘Track’. To blow ‘trade’ means ‘to blow steadily in the same direction and in a constant course’.

They blow from the sub-tropical high pressure belts towards the equatorial low pressure belt. Under the influence of the Coriolis force they blow from the north-east SW in the northern hemisphere and from the south-east NW direction in the southern hemisphere.


Blow from subtropical High pressure to sub-polar low pressure belt.

They blow in SW to NE direction in Northern hemisphere and NW and SE direction in Southern hemisphere.

In the northern hemisphere, land masses cause considerable disruption in the westerly wind belt. But between 40 degree and 60 degree south lies the almost unbroken ocean belt. Westerlies are strong and persistent here, giving rise to mariner’s expressions – Roaring Forties, Furious Fifties, and Shrieking Sixties.

Polar Easterlies

Move from high pressure poles to sub-polar low pressure area in east and west direction.

These are deflected by the Earth’s rotation to become east winds or polar easterlies.

Local Winds

Chinook: Hot dry wind in Rockies also called ‘snow eater’

Hoehn: Hot, dry wind in Alps

Khamsin: Hot, dry wind in Egypt

Sirocco: Hot, moist wind from Sahara to Mediterranean Sea.

Solano: Hot, moist wind from Sahara towards Iberian Peninsula

Hamattan: Hot dry wind blowing outwards from interior of West Africa also called Guinea Doctor.

Bora: Cold, dry wind blowing outward from Hungary to the north of Italy (near Adriatic Sea)

Mistral: Very cold wind, which blows down from the Alps, over France.

Zonda: Cold, dry wind blow in Argentina

Blizzard: Very cold wind in Tundra region

Brickfielder: Hot wind in Australia

Purga: Cold wind in Russian Tundra

Lavanter: Cold wind in Spain

Norwester: Hot wind in New Zealand

Santa Ana: Hot wind in South California in USA


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