What are the trade winds?

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Morgan is the last of an American whaling fleet that once numbered more than 2, vessels. Ships like the Morgan often how to trade options and winds form routes defined by the trade winds to navigate the oceans. Known to sailors around the world, the how to trade options and winds form winds and associated ocean currents helped early sailing ships from European and African ports make their journeys to the Americas.

Likewise, the trade winds also drive sailing vessels from the Americas toward Asia. Even now, commercial ships use "the trades" and the currents the winds produce to hasten their oceanic voyages. How do these commerce-friendly winds form?

Between about 30 degrees north and 30 degrees south of the equator, in a region called the horse latitudesthe Earth's rotation causes air to how to trade options and winds form toward the equator in a southwesterly direction in the northern hemisphere and in a northwesterly direction in the southern hemisphere. This is called the Coriolis Effect.

The Coriolis Effect, in combination with an area of high pressure, causes the prevailing winds—the trade winds—to move from east to west on both sides of the equator across this degree "belt.

As the wind blows to about five degrees north and south of the equator, both air and ocean currents come to a halt in a band of hot, dry air. This degree belt around Earth's midsection is called the Inter-Tropical Convergence How to trade options and winds formmore commonly known as the doldrums. Intense solar heat in the doldrums warms and moistens the trade winds, thrusting air upwards into the atmosphere like a hot air balloon. As the air rises, it cools, causing persistent bands of showers and storms in the tropics and rainforests.

The rising air masses move toward the poles, then sink back toward Earth's surface near the horse latitudes. The sinking air triggers the calm trade winds and little precipitation, completing the cycle. More Information What are the horse latitudes? What are the doldrums? What is a current? The rotation of the Earth deflects the atmosphere, resulting in curved wind paths.

This deflection, called the Coriolis Effectsets up the complex global wind patterns that drive surface ocean currents. It is named after the French mathematician Gaspard Gustave de Corioliswho studied waterwheels to understand the transfer of energy in rotating systems.

NOAA How to cite this article. Home Ocean Facts What are the trade winds? What are the trade winds? Early commerce to the Americas relied on the trade winds—the prevailing easterly winds that circle the Earth near the equator.

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The trade winds are the prevailing pattern of easterly surface winds found in the tropics , within the lower portion of the Earth's atmosphere , in the lower section of the troposphere near the Earth's equator. The trade winds blow predominantly from the northeast in the Northern Hemisphere and from the southeast in the Southern Hemisphere , strengthening during the winter and when the Arctic oscillation is in its warm phase.

Trade winds have been used by captains of sailing ships to cross the world's oceans for centuries, and enabled colonial expansion into the Americas and trade routes to become established across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. In meteorology , the trade winds act as the steering flow for tropical storms that form over the Atlantic, Pacific, and southern Indian Oceans and make landfall in North America, Southeast Asia, and Madagascar and eastern Africa, respectively.

Trade winds also transport African dust westward across the Atlantic Ocean into the Caribbean Sea , as well as portions of southeastern North America. Shallow cumulus clouds are seen within trade wind regimes, and are capped from becoming taller by a trade wind inversion, which is caused by descending air aloft from within the subtropical ridge. The weaker the trade winds become, the more rainfall can be expected in the neighboring landmasses. The term trade winds originally derives from the early fourteenth century late Middle English word 'trade,' meaning "path" or "track.

They could then turn northeast, to the area around the Azores islands, and finally east to mainland Europe. Following the African coast southbound means upwind in the Southern hemisphere. In the Pacific ocean, the full wind circulation, which included both the trade wind easterlies and higher-latitude Westerlies , was unknown to Europeans until Andres de Urdaneta 's voyage in The captain of a sailing ship seeks a course along which the winds can be expected to blow in the direction of travel.

For example, Manila galleons could not sail into the wind at all. By the 18th century the importance of the trade winds to England's merchant fleet for crossing the Atlantic Ocean had led both the general public and etymologists to identify the name with a later meaning of 'trade', " foreign commerce". As part of the Hadley cell , surface air flows toward the equator while the flow aloft is towards the poles.

A low-pressure area of calm, light variable winds near the equator is known as the doldrums , [7] near-equatorial trough, [8] intertropical front, or the Intertropical Convergence Zone.

The subsident sinking air is relatively dry because as it descends, the temperature increases, but the absolute humidity remains constant, which lowers the relative humidity of the air mass. This warm, dry air is known as a superior air mass and normally resides above a maritime tropical warm and moist air mass. An increase of temperature with height is known as a temperature inversion.

When it occurs within a trade wind regime, it is known as a trade wind inversion. The surface air that flows from these subtropical high-pressure belts toward the Equator is deflected toward the west in both hemispheres by the Coriolis effect.

The trade winds of both hemispheres meet at the doldrums. As they blow across tropical regions, air masses heat up over lower latitudes due to more direct sunlight. Those that develop over land continental are drier and hotter than those that develop over oceans maritime , and travel northward on the western periphery of the subtropical ridge.

The cold phase of the AO leads to weaker trade winds. During mid-summer in the Northern Hemisphere July , the westward-moving trade winds south of the northward-moving subtropical ridge expand northwestward from the Caribbean sea into southeastern North America Florida and Gulf Coast.

When dust from the Sahara moving around the southern periphery of the ridge travels over land, rainfall is suppressed and the sky changes from a blue to a white appearance which leads to an increase in red sunsets. Its presence negatively impacts air quality by adding to the count of airborne particulates. There is a large variability in the dust transport to the Caribbean and Florida from year to year. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

This article is about the weather phenomenon. For other uses, see Tradewind. Age of Discovery , Volta do Mar , and Age of sail. Braham; Enid Pearsons; Deborah M. Random House Webster's College Dictionary second ed. Historical atlas of the North Pacific Ocean: A text-book of commercial geography. Mcgraw-Hill Book Company, Inc. Archived from the original on Encyclopedia of world climatology.

Archived at the Wayback Machine. Coral Mortality and African Dust. Retrieved from " https: Climate patterns Atmospheric dynamics Wind Age of Sail. Webarchive template wayback links Good articles. Views Read Edit View history. This page was last edited on 12 March , at By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.