What makes wind blow?


Quick Answer

Wind is caused by a pressure difference in the atmosphere, resulting in air moving from an area of high pressure to low pressure. The air movement is felt as wind. Pressure differences are caused by areas in the atmosphere with either rising or sinking air.

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Full Answer

Winds can be either small-or large-scale ones. Both are caused by pressure differences in the atmosphere, but the mechanisms that create these variations are not the same. Without the sinking and rising of air in the atmosphere, there would be no wind or any other type of weather.

Small scale winds, for example, can be caused by the sun heating up the ground near the ocean faster than the water itself. The hot ground heats up the air above it much faster, causing the air to rise. Air above the sea then rushes inland to equalize the new pressure difference, resulting in a sea breeze.

Winds on a large scale are caused by the differences in the angle of sun rays between the polar regions and the rest of the world. The sun heats up the polar areas much slower, causing a large-scale temperature difference across the globe. The difference in pressure results in a large movement of air particles.

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