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Notes of Winds Geography Section of UPSC Exams

SSBInsights Team
10 Nov 2017



 Light breeze is a wind with a speed of from 7 to 11 kilometers per hour, Fresh breeze is a wind with a speed of from 31 to 39 kilometers per hour and Gale is a wind with a speed of from 63 to 74 kilometers per hour.


Due to rotation of the earth, in the Northern hemisphere winds are deflected to their right and in Southern hemisphere to their left. This is known as Ferrel’s Law of Deflection. It is also called Coriolis Effect. The deflection is greatest at the poles and decreases to zero at the equator.

The Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) is the area encircling the earth near the Equator where winds originating in the northern and southern hemispheres come together.


Westerlies are also known as ‘roaring Forties’ or Furious Fifties’ or Shrieking Sixties in Southern hemisphere, as they gather force in the absence of any land mass.

Cyclone, in strict meteorological terminology, an area of low atmospheric pressure surrounded by a wind system blowing, in the northern hemisphere, in a counterclockwise direction. In the southern hemisphere these wind directions are reversed.

The closer to the center of the cyclone, the faster is the wind speed.

Tropical cyclones with wind speeds greater than 62.4 kmph are called tropical storms. Once the wind speeds exceed 118.4 kmph, tropical storms graduate to the label of a hurricane, or typhoon depending on which part of the world it is. Hurricanes are severe tropical storms that form in the southern Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, and in the eastern Pacific Ocean, east of the International Date Line. If the severe storm originates over the North Pacific, west of the Date Line, it is called a typhoon. Australians, who have colorful names for just about everything, have their own term for hurricanes: "willy-willys. Everywhere else it would be called a cyclone

A tornado is a violently rotating column of air which is in contact with both a cumulonimbus cloud base and the surface of the earth. While hurricanes, typhoons and cyclones have diameters of the scale of hundreds of kilometres and consist of a dozen to several storms, tornadoes have diameters of the scale of hundreds of metres and are produced from a single storm. Tornadoes have been observed on every continent except Antarctica; however, most of the world's tornadoes occur in the United States. Other areas which commonly experience tornadoes include New Zealand, western and southeastern Australia, south-central Canada, northwestern and central Europe, Italy, south-central and eastern Asia, east-central South America and Southern Africa.

Mid-latitude or Temperate Cyclones are large traveling atmospheric cyclonic storms up to 2000 kilometers in diameter with centers of low atmospheric pressure. They are the result of the dynamic interaction of warm tropical and cold polar air masses at the polar front (around 60 deg latitude).


 Abroholos (Sudden frequent wind that occurs from May through August on the coast of Brazil)

Alize (northeasterly across central Africa and the Caribbean)

Alizé Maritime (a wet, fresh northerly wind across west central Africa)

Amihan (northeasterly wind across the Philippines)

Bayamo (a violent wind on Cuba's southern coast)

Blizzard Very cold winds in Tundra region

Bora (cold dry wind  from eastern Europe to northeastern Italy)

Brickfielder Hot wind in Australia

Chili    This hot, dry and dusty wind comes from the Sahara desert in Tunisia

Chinook (warm dry westerly off the Rocky Mountains) It is also called ‘Snow eater’

Etesian (Greek name) or Meltemi (Turkish name) (northerly across Greece and Turkey)

Föehn (warm dry southerly off the northern side of the Alps and the North Italy)

Fremantle Doctor (afternoon sea breeze from the Indian Ocean which cools Perth, Western Australia during summer)

Gregale (northeasterly from Greece)

Habagat (southwesterly wind across the Philippines)

Harmattan (hot dry northerly wind across central Africa It is also called ‘guinea doctor’)

Khamsin (southeasterly from north Africa to the eastern Mediterranean)

Khazri (cold north wind in the Azerbaijan Republic)

Kona (southeast wind in Hawaii, replacing trade winds, bringing high humidity and often rain)

Košava (strong and cold southeasterly season wind in Serbia)

Levanter (easterly through Strait of Gibraltar in Spain)

Libeccio (southwesterly towards Italy)

Marin (south-easterly from Mediterranean to France)

Mistral (cold northerly from central France and the Alps to Mediterranean)

Nor'easter (a strong storm with winds from the northeast in the eastern United States, especially New England)

Nor'wester (A wind that brings rain to the West Coast, and warm dry winds to the East Coast of New Zealand) Within India also during monsoon we get Norwester

Pampero,  (cold wind  in the Argentina)

Papagayo, a periodic wind which blows across Nicaragua and Costa Rica

Punas cold dry wind blowing down towards the western side of Andes

Purga Cold wind in Russian tundra

Santa Ana  (hot winds in southern California)

Simoom (strong, dry, desert wind that blows in the Sahara, Israel, Jordan, Syria, and the desert of Arabia)

Sirocco (hot moist wind  from north Africa to southern Europe)

Solano This is another name for the Levanter

Tramontane (cold northwesterly from the Alps to the Mediterranean, similar to Mistral)

Yamo Warm and dry winds in Japan

Zonda, winter foehn (a warm, dry wind blowing down the side of a mountain) in Argentina, where it blows from the west across the Andes Mountains.

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