http://elsci.lansingschools.net/rtsmith/wind/names.htm
Last Modified:   20061220.13:45   by RTSmith

Index of Secondary Text Terms Figure 3.1: Network Map of Wind-related Concepts

Names for Wind

There are a number of instances where unusual local topography and atmospheric conditions yield particular, recurring regional wind patterns, which have been given special names.   Some examples, along with several wind-related terms, as well as some more general terms for various winds (many of which have been taken from Allen, 1983, pp. 67-87, or Bendick, 1964, pp. 31, 44-56), include:

Aeolus
regent of the winds in Greek mythology; see Boreas, Eurus, Notus, and Zephyr
air
can be classified as:  light (see Beaufort Number 1 on the Beaufort Scale)
anticyclone
air spinning outward from centers of high air pressure; flowing clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and counterclockwise in the Southern Hemisphere
Aquilo
the Latin version of Boreas
Auster
the Latin version of Notus
blizzard
 
blustery
 
bora
a cold wind that blows from the north or northeast across the lands around the Adriatic Sea (named after Boreas)
Boreas
the "North Wind" in Greek mythology
breath
 
breeze
also see lake breeze, land breeze, and sea breeze; can be classified as:  light, gentle, moderate, fresh, or strong (see Beaufort Numbers 2 through 6 on the Beaufort Scale)
buster
a sudden, violent, and cold wind that blows from the south across Australia (alternatively refered to in parts of Australia as a "southerly burster" or a "brickfielder")
calm
(see Beaufort Number 0 on the Beaufort Scale)
CAT
Clear Air Turbulence
chinook
a foehn, originating with moist wind from the Pacific Ocean, that releases its moisture as precipitation over the Rocky Mountains, the air is then compressed and heated as it descends over the frozen plains of the northwestern United States and Canada, often removing several inches of snow by sublimation in a matter of hours, thus leading some people to refer to them as "snow eaters"
[Sometimes, the wet southwest winds that blow along the coasts of Oregon and Washington are also referred to as chinooks because of their warmth.]
cyclone
air spinning in toward centers of low air pressure; flowing counterclockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere
doldrums
a narrow, virtually windless zone (which moves slightly north or south with the seasons) that occurs near the Equator as heated air rises upward, leaving the ocean surface calm and glassy
downdraft
 
dust devil
 
elephanta
the violent windstorms that occur at the beginning and the end of the monsoon season in India
Eurus
the "East Wind" in Greek mythology (the same term is used in Latin)
Favonius
the Latin version of Zephyr
foehn
any warm, dry wind that blows down the leeward side of a mountain range; particularly the hot, dry winds that move down from snow-clad mountains to roar through Alpine valleys, typically in autumn and late winter
friagem
like a North American norther, but blowing northward from the South Pole in South America
gale
can be classified as:  moderate, near, fresh, strong, or whole (see Beaufort Numbers 7 through 10 on the Beaufort Scale)
gust
 
haboob
a squall of billowing dust that blows across the Syrian desert when a monsoon collides with dry air currents above it
Hadley cell
named after George Hadley, a London lawyer, who in 1735 presented a paper on the origin of the trade winds to the Royal Society of London; see section 33321233 for a more detailed description of this convective pattern
harmattan
a very hot wind, with dangerous cross-currents, that blows southwest from central Africa and across the Sudan, typically December through February, preceded by the smokes (i.e., clouds of stinging, red dust)
helm wind
a wind that blows down the slopes of smaller, smoother hills (as opposed to a foehn); common in the British Isles
horse latitudes
a dry high-pressure zone in the North Atlantic
hurricane
(see Beaufort Number 12 on the Beaufort Scale)
khamsin
a hot, dry wind that blows from the Sahara Desert to Egypt for about fifty days each spring; called "rih al khamsin" (the wind of fifty days) by Egyptians
jet stream
bands of rapidly moving air, normally 290 to 480 kilometers (180 to 300 miles) wide and up to three kilometers thick, that travel above the earth at altitudes of 9000 to 13,600 meters (30,000 to 45,000 feet) and at speeds that average between 100 and 180 kilometers (60 and 115 miles) per hour, but which have been recorded exceeding 460 kilometers per hour
lake breeze
like a sea breeze, but occurring near a large lake
land breeze
also see section 33321231
levanter
blows through the Straits of Gibraltar, funneled through the gap between the high plateau of Spain and the Atlas Mountains of North Africa
Mariah
it's what they call the wind (a way out here where they have names for the wind, and the rain, and fire)     :-)
mistral
a penetrating, stormy, dry and cold wind that blows through the Rhone Valley of France toward the Mediterranean coast
monsoon
any seasonal wind that blows toward a continent in summer and away from it in winter; perhaps the most famous of which occur in India
northeaster, nor'easter
a strong wind blowing across New England from the northeast, typically bringing gales and wet weather
"Northeasters" can also blow across the Great Lakes
norther
a winter wind that sweeps across the southern Uniteds States and then out over the Gulf of Mexico; it can start in Canada and eventually cover the entire Mississippi Valley
Notus
the "South Wind" in Greek mythology
polar night jets
an intermittent form of jet stream that occurs above the earth's poles during the dark winter months
prevailing westerlies
prevailing winds that blow from the west and occur between 30 and 60 degrees from the Equator.
puelche
an easterly foehn blowing off the Andes of South America
reverse jet stream
an intermittent, east-to-west flowing form of jet stream that forms during the summer at the tropopause over the Indian Ocean and Africa
roaring forties
the name applied, especially by sailors, to the latitudes between 40 degrees S and 50 degees S, where the prevailing westerly winds are strong and steady.   Unlike the winds in the Northern Hemisphere, those in the roaring forties are not impeded by large land areas.   (Quoted from:   http://www.infoplease.com/ce5/CE044311.html.)
Santa Ana
a hot wind that emerges from the sun-baked Great Basin between the Sierras and the Rocky Mountains and pours into the Los Angeles basin of California; gusting to over 100 kilometers per hour, it can desiccate so much vegetation that it sets the stage for frequent brush fires
sea breeze
also see section 33321231
second wind
 
simoom
the searing "poison wind" of Arabia, which roars across the parched desert
sirocco
the blistering winds of the Sahara, which can blow dust, grit, and sand all the way from northern Africa across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe
solar wind
 
squall
a sudden storm of wind, typically accompanied by rain or snow or sleet
storm
(see Beaufort Numbers 10 and 11 on the Beaufort Scale)
tebbad
the "fever wind" of Turkestan
thermal
a rising parcel of warm air
tornado
 
trade winds
the northeasterlies, which girdle the Northern Hemisphere near the Equator (and the southeasterlies that do the same south of the Equator), provided earlier mariners with reliable winds to travel from Europe or Africa to the Americas; they derived their name from an archaic word meaning "course" or "track"
tropical cyclone
the name for a hurricane that occurs in the Indian Ocean
twister
 
typhoon
the name for a hurricane that occurs in the Pacific Ocean
updraft
 
vortex
 
williwaw
violent gusts of cold air that blow off the mountainous coasts into the oceans, as occurs in the Aleutian Islands of Alaska and the Straits of Magellan near the south end of South America
willy-willy
the name for a hurricane that occurs in the seas north of Australia
wind chill
 
Zephyr
the "West Wind" in Greek mythology
zonda
a westerly foehn blowing off the Andes of South America and across the pampas of Argentina


Additional information regarding wind and names for various winds can be found on the following web pages:


Return to the top of this page Index of Secondary Text Terms Network Map of Wind-related Concepts

This page was created by R. Timothy Smith, when he was an overworked, underpaid Academic Specialist with the Department of Teacher Education in the College of Education at Michigan State University (1993-2001).

Robert.Smith@lansingschools.net