1s1p__2 - A large area with little pressure difference puts...

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March 2 2006 Prof. Weidman / NATS 101-48 1S1P Report: Why the Wind Blows Wind, or the movement of air, is caused by pressure gradient force, the rotation of the Earth (Coriolis force), centripetal force, and friction. Coriolis force and pressure gradient force are the two that affect winds near the Earth's surface. Pressure gradients affect the speed of wind, while Coriolis force affects the direction. Pressure gradients measure the difference between the air pressure at two points relative to their distance from eachother. They also affect how fast wind blows. The closer two different pressure points are to eachother, the more rapidly the air between them moves. This is because the air under high pressure tries to “relieve” the pressure by moving to an area of lower pressure. In an area of “gentle” or widely spaced pressure gradients, wind blows slower.
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Unformatted text preview: A large area with little pressure difference puts less pressure on the air to move into an area of lower pressure. The Coriolis force affects the direction of wind and is caused by the rotation of the Earth. Air moves in a straight path around the Earth, but the Earth's rotation underneath the air (and also ocean currents and aircraft, among other things) causes the path to be skewed (deflected) to the right in the Northern Hemisphere and to the left in the Southern Hemisphere. Coriolis force does not make winds faster or slower, but the amount of wind movement it causes is based on how fast the Earth is rotating. The effect is strongest at the poles, which rotate faster, and has no effect on the equator. Coriolis causes more deflection over larger distances than smaller ones, and faster objects over slower ones....
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