Animated Surface Winds Centered on Newport, Oregon


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Tip: Drag the globe to see current surface winds in other places.

Much can be learned about current weather conditions, and likely future conditions, by studying the ways in which winds are currently flowing around the Earth.

Average air temperatures are much higher near the equator than near the poles, because the Sun is higher in the sky during daytime. Southerly winds in the Northern hemisphere (winds blowing generally from South to North) make areas they blow over warmer, because warmer southern air is moving northward. Conversely, Northerly winds bring colder air down from the north.

So, if you want to visit the Oregon Coast when temperatures are warmer than usual, watch for times when surface winds along the Coast are blowing up from the south. If you want to escape summer heat and visit when temperatures are below normal, watch for times when surface winds along the Coast are blowing down from the North.

However, these simple observations are only a small portion of what can be learned from current wind conditions. Wind rotates counter-clockwise (anticlockwise if you are British) around low-pressure areas in the Northern hemisphere and clockwise around high-pressure areas. Low pressure areas are typically associated with high surface wind speeds. Conversely, high pressure areas tend to be associated with low surface wind speeds. So, if you see a low-pressure area (area with counter-clockwise rotation) moving toward shore you can expect high wind speeds along the Coast that will be warmer than usual, because wind on the leading edge of the eastward-moving low-pressure area will be coming up from the South.  However, as the center portion of the low-pressure are passes overhead the wind direction will reverse and there will be a strong, colder wind from the North.

Conversely, if you see a high-pressure area (clockwise rotation) moving toward shore you can expect it to first bring cool light winds from the North and then warmer light winds from the South as it crosses overhead.

All this is reversed in the Southern hemisphere, because the Earth rotates in the opposite direction looking up from the bottom than down from the top.

See this Wikipedia article to learn more about wind.