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Section 5.1 Introduction

NOAA Jetstream:

Wind is the horizontal movement of air, characterized by both a direction and a magnitude. Note that wind is labeled by the direction from which it is traveling (e.g. a northwest wind is coming from the northwest).

In meteorology, measurements of wind can be expressed using windpoles, which show both the direction and the magnitude of the wind (in knots or nautical miles per hour); 1 knot = 6076 ft or 1.15 miles or 1/60th a degree of latitude

There are a number of key forces that play a role in the generation of atmospheric winds. We will explore each of the following in turn:

  • Pressure Gradient Force

  • Gravitational Force

  • Coriolis Force

  • Centrifugal Force

  • Friction