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Where does the wind come from?

PHYSICAL WORLD: Students from Paekakariki School asked this question

The main driver of the wind is the heating effect of the sun on the Earth. The sun’s energy heats the planet’s surface, most intensively at the equator, which causes air to rise. This rising air creates an area of low pressure at the surface into which cooler air is sucked, and it is this flow of air that we know as “wind”. In reality there are a lot of extra influences on the direction and intensity of the wind, the major one being the fact that the Earth is rotating and is spherical. This creates an effect known as the "Coriolis Effect" which creates a sideways force, causing the air to circulate anticlockwise around areas of low pressure in the northern hemisphere and clockwise in the southern hemisphere.

Our expert

Professor John Harvey anwered this question. He is a Fellow of Royal Society Te Apārangi, which means he’s one of the top experts in his field of photonics and optics. John started the University of Auckland Laser Lab in the early 80′s and has been CEO of Southern Photonics since its inception in 2001.

For more information visit:  http://www.southernphotonics.com/about-us/prof-john-harvey/