how does wind affect precipitation

How does wind affect precipitation? Unless it is a geographer, most people would doubt if you mentioned to them that wind has a hand in the amounts of rainfall they get.

Believe it or not, the wind you can’t see but can feel, has a great impact on precipitation.

This blog post will clear all the doubts you have, it will put in black and white the effects of wind on precipitation while leaving nothing to chance.

There is more to wind than its whirling and hushed voices as it sweeps across the atmosphere.

You do not want to miss this, sit tight as we delve in to reveal how the wind does affect precipitation. This will be amazing stuff to read and to know.

Wind hastens the evaporation of seawater, increases vapor rate, and controls the strength of the wind, wind pattern, direction, and speed of the wind.

Effects of Wind on Precipitation

effect of wind

There are certain ways that the wind affects precipitation. Some of these ways are explained below.

Wind Hastens the Evaporation of Seawater

The main source of precipitation is the evaporation of water from the surface of the earth.

Especially, from seas, lakes, and oceans which contribute largely to rain formation.

During the day, especially on hot ones, the water from these bodies evaporates when the temperatures rise.

Tip: At this time, vapors are formed that ascend to the atmosphere, later on, the vapor descends as rain.

The wind comes in as a helper and aids the vapor to rise in the atmosphere.

The more the wind, the more the water vapor is taken into the atmosphere and vice versa.

Later on, the vapor that is deposited in the atmosphere starts to cool upon a decline in heat.

Hence becoming too heavy forming a cloud that falls back as any form of precipitation, especially as rain.

Wind Increases Vapor Rate

increases vapor rate

However, winds do not necessarily mean there will be rain, there are areas with lots of wind such as deserts but receive very little rain.

Wind only comes in to increase the rate at which the vapor from water bodies rises into the skies.

When there is no evaporation of water, then the present wind has no effect on the amounts of rain received by a certain area.

Wind Direction

a wind direction

The direction the wind blows impacts the amount of rain to be received in a certain location.

Especially near water bodies and near hills and mountains. During the day, the air in regions surrounding seas and oceans is heated and rises to form a region of very low pressure.

Consecutively, air from the sea moves into the region created by the rising air to cover up for the low pressure.

Therefore, during the day, it is a norm that air rises from the sea to the land. And during the night, air rises from the land to the sea.

Note: This air is what is referred to as sea breeze.

Impact of Wind Direction on Precipitation

impact of wind direction

Winds blowing from the water bodies to the land bring with them rain and precipitation.

Those that blow the opposite way bring about dryness. Therefore, the direction of the wind at a certain time matters on whether a certain area is likely to receive rain or not.

The direction of the wind also has an impact on precipitation levels in areas around mountains and hills.

In the event wind is rising towards the windward side of either the hill or mountain, there is a cooling effect on the air around the area.

This leads to precipitation, and on the opposite side of the wind, (which is known as the leeward side), there is dryness hence low or no precipitations at all.

Wind Speed

a wind speed

Higher wind speeds encourage higher evaporation, hence causing deep convection. This results in more rainfall.

An increase in precipitation is substantially greater than evaporation changes associated with increased wind speed.

Implying a convergence loop in which evaporation causes more moisture, which feeds precipitation amount.

The speed of wind is influenced by air pressure. Normally, the wind will blow from high to low-pressure zones. 

Hence the speed will be determined by the amounts of air pressure between the high and low-pressure areas.

When the difference between the points is higher, then the speeds of the wind will be faster. But when the difference will be lower, then the speeds will be slower.

Also, the height of the ground, also known as sea level affects the speed of the wind in a way that when the wind is moving near the flow of the earth.

It is likely to incur several obstacles in its way hence lowering the speed.

Note: If the wind is traveling at a higher level, then the speeds would be faster. Hence increasing evaporation and resulting in more precipitation.

The Strength of the Wind

strength of wind

Sounds a lot more of wonder but yes, the strength of the winds is a determining factor in the levels of precipitation.

The stronger the winds, the more the precipitation, and the weaker the winds the lesser precipitation.

Usually, stronger winds will hold the evaporated water in the clouds for a longer time.

This results in a thunderstorm, or the strong winds won’t let the precipitation reach the earth’s surface.

It will be redirected into the clouds which would result in a hailstorm.

However, weaker winds can’t hold rain for long, and they do hold very little amounts of precipitation that come down too soon.

The strength is determined by the magnitude and build-up of air pressure in the wind’s way.

Note: The speed of the wind and obstacles are other factors that influence the strength of the wind.

The Patterns of Wind

patterns of wind

The patterns of wind have a great impact on precipitation. Although it’s difficult to the patterns of winds at ago.

It takes up to several days of constant studies to tell these patterns before concluding what their effect on precipitation could be.

There are three known wind patterns also known as wind types. These are;

  • The Westerlies trade winds,
  • The planetaries,
  • The periodic winds.

Pressure is one of the greatest factors that influence the patterns of wind.

Therefore, a change in wind patterns is likely to result in a change in the prevailing weather conditions. Favorable weather patterns lead to more precipitation.

Pressure variations between air masses result from temperature changes, which cause wind.

Tip: Gasses travel from high-pressure to low-pressure environments.

The Difference in Air Pressure

a difference in air pressure

A greater difference in air pressure guarantees that the air will go faster from high to low pressure. There will be a shift in the patterns of wind.

As the wind starts to blow, it relieves the heat away from the body.

Reducing skin temperature and, finally, the interior body temperature. As an aftereffect, the breeze makes it feel colder.

The wind chill is -19°F when the temperature is 0°F and the wind speed is 15 mph.

Pressure variations between air masses result from temperature changes, which trigger the wind to blow.

Note: If the patterns of wind will make the breeze move from the sea to the land, there will be an increase in precipitation and vice versa.

Conclusion on How Does Wind Affect Precipitation?

How does wind affect precipitation? In this article, we looked at the several ways in which wind affects precipitation.

While the most common form of precipitation is rainfall.

Others include snow, sleet, drizzles, ice, snowflakes, ice pellets, dew, crystals, winter storm, and convectional rainfall.

Rainfall is the most talked-about form of precipitation with most if not all of the effects of wind having a hand in the levels of rainfall received in most places.

From the speeds of wind, the direction it blows, and the strength, without forgetting its effect on seawater evaporation.