Heat Transfer and Global Winds
How does heat transfer effect the global winds?
Temperature and pressure gradients (changes with
distance in the horizontal or vertical), and the transfer
of energy resulting from, them control most of the
atmospheric motions. So heat transfer (from hot
to cooler areas) is very important. A good example
is a large horizontal temperature gradient that
might occur in Autumn or early Spring, with cold
air from Canada and warm air from the southern
United States colliding in the middle of the USA;
this typically produces very high winds and sometimes
a strong cold front with large thunderstorms.
Large pressure gradients and temperature gradients
tend to occur at the same time (although not
necessarily in exactly the same place), since pressure is
affected by temperature. A strong gradient of pressure
alone will produce high winds.
David R. Cook
Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry Section
Environmental Research Division
Argonne National Laboratory
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Update: June 2012