What is Wind? – The Science of Wind Movement

Wind is the movement of a parcel of air within the earth’s atmosphere that always flows towards lower pressure areas.  Wind is described by both it’s speed and direction.

The direction of wind is described as the direction from which the wind is blowing.  So, wind described as westerly wind, blows from the west to the east.

The speed of wind is described as a distance traveled per unit of time, for example, miles per hour.

The most fundamental and important thing to understand about what is wind movement is that wind always flows from a higher pressure area towards a lower pressure area.  This is a key law of the physical laws of wind movement.

To help understand the concept of wind moving towards lower pressure systems imagine this scenario:

There are two large adjacent rooms connected with one closed door.  One room is filled to capacity with marbles, and the other room only holds one marble.  Now pretend that the marbles are actually air molecules.  This would mean that the room filled with all of the marbles would have a much higher pressure than the other room because of the physical laws of gases.  Now imagine that the door which connects the rooms is opened.  What happens?  The marbles from the filled room will begin to spill into the other room until both rooms have a more equal amount of marbles.  If they were air molecules, the air would flow towards the lower pressure room creating a force of wind until the air pressure in both rooms were equal.

What is wind used for when it comes to wind turbines?

The wind is used to rotate the turbine blades.  The Turbine blades are shaped like airplane wings to make them spin as wind passes into them.  The blades will then rotate a turbine shaft, which will rotate a turbine generator to produce electricity.