How Does Wind Affect Weather?

wind-affect-weather Credit: john finney photography/Moment/Getty Images

Wind, or air movement, is integral to all types of weather conditions. Air pressure, which is largely caused by differential heating of the air by the sun and ground conditions, controls the way air flows, according to the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research. High pressure causes wind to blow slowly down and out, which prevents cloud formation; low pressure causes air to go up, which causes cooling and cloud formation.

Wind, or the lack of it, is integral to all manner of weather phenomena. In addition to being the reason clouds form in the first place, wind moves clouds and precipitation from place to place. Wind is also a factor in weather itself, with windy days being an important consideration for weather forecasting. Some of the most severe weather conditions, such as tornadoes and hurricanes, are extreme, in part, because of their intense and destructive winds.

The air pressure that causes and prevents cloud formation is a relative measurement, not an absolute one. Air always flows from areas of higher pressure to areas of lower pressure, regardless of the absolute pressure in those areas. The difference between the air pressure in the two areas is the main determinant of the speed at which air flows, with more rapid movement causing stronger winds.