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What is shown on a prevailing wind patterns map?

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Quick Answer

A map of the earth's prevailing winds system will likely show the arrangement, location, direction and wind speed of the various dominant wind patterns blowing across the earth's surface. Such a map might identify easterly or trade winds, located near the equator; westerly winds or westerlies, located between 35 and 65 degrees latitude; and the polar easterlies, located near the North and South Poles.

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Full Answer

Prevailing winds blow mostly from one direction and are influenced by the earth's meteorological and atmospheric conditions, as well as its movement and position. In general, a prevailing winds map includes arrows signifying the cardinal direction of various wind patterns as they move across the earth's surface. More detailed maps - especially those used by professional meteorologists - typically include more precise data on wind direction, speed and arrangement in reference to other wind systems.

Prevailing winds are a significant force in climatology, often determining the climate for a particular region. They are particularly useful for predicting fair or inclement weather but also for predicting the landfall of a hurricane or cyclone. Meteorologists use tools called wind roses to determine the wind speed and direction of a prevailing wind at a specific location on the earth's surface.

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