Friday, February 5, 2010

Interesting science facts about wind

Wind on our planet represents the flow of gases, and consists of the bulk movement of air.

From the astronomical point of view there are tow types of winds, solar winds that exist in outer space, and planetary winds that occur on planets. The distinction between these two type of winds is that solar wind represents the movement of gases or charged particles from the sun through space while planetary wind represents the out-gassing of light chemical elements from a planet's atmosphere into space.

Meteorology, when determining wind usually takes into account two main factors, the power of the wind, and the direction wind is blowing from.

Wind is caused by differences in pressure. The difference in pressure causes the air to accelerate from higher to lower pressure.

Speaking in more broader terms we could say that the two major driving factors of large scale winds on our planet are the differential heating between the equator and the poles and the rotation of the planet.

The term Wind Power Density is yardstick used to determine the best locations for wind energy development. Wind energy is currently fastest developing renewable energy source in the world.

Wind is the main source of erosion in arid climates where wind causes small particles to be lifted and therefore moved to another region.

Warm air moves to the poles where it cools down while cold air moves towards the Equator where it heats up.

Wind has the ability to limit the growth of trees. For instance in isolated mountains, the tree line is often much lower than in corresponding altitudes inland because strong winds in these areas reduce the tree growth.

Birds often use advantage of wind conditions, in order to either fly or glide which saves them strength.

Total destruction of buildings and other structures occurs when winds reach 175 knots (324 km/h), though even at speeds that exceed 135 knots (250 km/h) large buildings will experience significant damage while homes will totally collapse.

Australia's Barrow Island holds the record for the strongest wind ever, reaching 408 km/h (253 mph) during tropical cyclone Olivia in April 1996.

In our solar system, Venus for instance has very powerful winds 300 kilometres per hour (190 mph) that occurs on planet every four to five days. Neptune has the fastest winds in our solar system, and at the cloud tops of Neptune, winds range in speed from 400 metres per second (890 mph) along the equator area.