Science behind wind formation

Published: Mar. 15, 2023 at 4:07 PM CDT|Updated: Mar. 15, 2023 at 4:09 PM CDT
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QUAD CITIES, Iowa/Ill. (KWQC) - Wind is a big driver in our weather forecast.

The NOAA Glossary defines wind as “the horizontal motion of the air past a given point. Winds begin with differences in air pressures. Pressure that’s higher at one place than another sets up a force pushing from the high toward the low pressure.

This is known as the pressure gradient force.

Air pressure is always trying to reach a state of equilibrium or balance. In fact, that’s what the atmosphere tries to do on a daily basis, which is why we have weather in the first place.

If you have an area of weak high pressure flowing to an area of weak low pressure, the result is weaker winds.

On the flip side, if the area of high pressure and low pressure are stronger, that’s going to lead to a tighter pressure gradient, leading to stronger winds.

Often time when there is a tight pressure gradient, there’s a big change in temperature over distance, which is why the windiest months happen to be March and April as we transition from the coldest months to the warmer months.