Types of Wind

Movement and flow of air is known as wind. While this definition has been long known to all, there are any aspects to it which you must learn as a student of Physics. Notably, you enjoy wind when it is blowing mildly or used for recreational purposes such as hot air balloons.

However, the same wind with high intensity is often not preferable as it results in destruction. Besides, if the intensity is controlled, it can be utilised in generating electricity with the help of windmills. 

Alongside, there are multiple types of winds that are classified based on their region of occurrence. Hence, it is essential for students to understand the same before they delve into advanced concepts.

Classification of Winds

You will be amazed to know that there are more than 3 types of winds. They are classified as follows -

  • Trade winds

  • Planetary winds

  • Periodic winds

  • Local wind

  • Westerlies 

Next, the periodic winds are further classified into four subtypes, which are -

  • Sea breeze

  • Land breeze

  • Monsoon wind

  • Mountain and valley breeze

The above classification of winds is highly beneficial for students to get an overview of the winds. 

Herein, land breeze and sea breeze are the two types of local winds. It is often observed that students confuse both terms. Here is a short explanation for your understanding so that you can have a clear distinction between the two.

Sea Breeze - Wind or breeze that blows from a water body towards the land is called a sea breeze.

Land Breeze - Breeze that blows from the land towards a water body is called a land breeze.

Therefore, you can see that use of the word breeze is kept based on its originating region. This could serve as a trick in remembering the two types of winds.

In addition, you should also note here that the land breeze does not carry any moisture with it. On the other hand, a sea breeze carries moisture with it, as it blows from the ocean towards the land. 

Why Do the Land and Sea Get Heated Differently?

After knowing the different types of wind, it is also crucial to know what causes wind. It is the differential heating of land and water that causes the wind to blow from one place to another. The seawater gets heated up slowly in comparison to that of the land. 

As a result of faster heating of land, the warm air over it rises up creating a vacuum. After that, the cool air blowing around rushes there to fill the vacant place. However, during the night, the land cools down faster as a result of which, there is a pressure difference. 

This difference gives rise to the formation of wind. 

In the diagram above, you can see the entire phenomenon explained and labelled clearly.

Another prime reason for the formation of different types of wind is the unequal heating of the Earth’s surface. The equatorial regions receive direct sunlight due to which they get heated faster. Contrarily, the polar regions receive sunlight in a slanting manner, thereby leading to lesser heat.

Test Your Learning

Fill in the Blanks

  1. Wind that blows from the land to sea is called …..

  2. ….. Is used to measure the wind speed.

  3. …. are called Roaring Forties.

  4. …..winds are spread across the lower atmosphere.

Answers: land breeze, Anemometer, Westerlies, Planetary

For more information on types of winds, you can check our online learning programs which cover every related topic in detail. Simultaneously, you can also download our Vedantu app for easy access and an enriched learning experience. 

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What are the Different Types of Winds?

Ans. The different types of winds on earth are planetary winds, trade winds, periodic winds, local winds, and westerlies. 

2. What Do You Mean By the Westerlies?

Ans. The westerlies are the winds that blow from the subtropical region of high-pressure to the polar area of low pressure. They are also known by other names such as Furious Fifties, Shrieking Sixties, and Roaring Forties.

3. How are Winds Caused?

Ans. Winds are mainly caused as a result of uneven heating of the land and sea. This also gives rise to the formation of different types of winds.