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What causes the circulation of air?

3 min read

Asked by: Mary Turner

Even with disruptions like weather fronts and storms, there is a consistent pattern to how air moves around our planet’s atmosphere. This pattern, called atmospheric circulation, is caused because the Sun heats the Earth more at the equator than at the poles. It’s also affected by the spin of the Earth.

What is the circulation of air?

atmospheric circulation, any atmospheric flow used to refer to the general circulation of the Earth and regional movements of air around areas of high and low pressure. On average, this circulation corresponds to large-scale wind systems arranged in several east–west belts that encircle the Earth.

What are the two main causes of atmospheric circulation?

The two major causes of global wind circulation are inequalities in radiation distribution over the Earth’s surface and the Earth’s rotation. Global radiation distribution drives global circulation, whereas the Earth’s rotation determines its shape.

What causes upper air circulation?

The variations in the atmospheric pressure closer to the surface of the earth have no role to play in the making of upper air circulation. They are caused by great temperature differences between adjacent air masses. There are four major jet streams.

What causes wind?

During the day, air above the land heats up faster than air over water. Warm air over land expands and rises, and heavier, cooler air rushes in to take its place, creating wind. At night, the winds are reversed because air cools more rapidly over land than it does over water.

How does wind circulate around the Earth?

Generally, prevailing winds blow east-west rather than north-south. This happens because Earth’s rotation generates what is known as the Coriolis effect. The Coriolis effect makes wind systems twist counter-clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.

What is a cause of atmospheric circulation quizlet?

The uneven heating of the Earth’s surface and the Coriolis Effect is what causes atmospheric circulation. The warm air rises and the cool air sinks. A convection current results from the difference in air density. Circulation is further moved by the deflection of moving air and water due to the rotation of the Earth.

What is the main driver of atmospheric circulation?


The only driver of atmospheric circulation is sunlight. Under the constraints of gravity, Archimedes’ thrust and Coriolis’ force due to the Earth’s rotation, temperature differences between the equator and the poles cause air to circulate all around the Earth.

What are 3 things that cause wind?

Atmospheric Pressure
In addition to helping drive prevailing winds, heat and pressure differences cause variations in local wind direction.

How do winds start?

The energy that drives wind originates with the sun, which heats the Earth unevenly, creating warm spots and cool spots. Two simple examples of this are sea breezes and land breezes. Sea breezes occur when inland areas heat up on sunny afternoons. That warms the air, causing it to rise.

How is wind formed short answer?

Wind is air in motion. Wind forms when the sun heats one part of the atmosphere differently than another part. This causes expansion of warmer air, making less pressure where it is warm than where it is cooler. Air always moves from high pressure to lower pressure, and this movement of air is wind.

How was air created?

The surface was molten. As Earth cooled, an atmosphere formed mainly from gases spewed from volcanoes. It included hydrogen sulfide, methane, and ten to 200 times as much carbon dioxide as today’s atmosphere. After about half a billion years, Earth’s surface cooled and solidified enough for water to collect on it.

Where does wind energy come from?

Wind energy is actually a byproduct of the sun. The sun’s uneven heating of the atmosphere, the earth’s irregular surfaces (mountains and valleys), and the planet’s revolution around the sun all combine to create wind.