Daily Archives: August 7, 2023

What are the trade winds?

On the morning of August 3, 1492, Christopher Columbus set sail on his first voyage to the Americas. He sailed south along the west coast of Africa, searching for the easterly “trade winds,” discovered earlier by the Portuguese, that would propel his fleet westward toward what he thought was India.

The trade winds are a component of a global-scale tropical circulation feature known as the Hadley cell. This cell is driven by the fact that the equator is heated more intensely than latitudes to its north and south, resulting in the production of collections of thunderstorms girdling the globe roughly along the equator. Continue reading

Category: Meteorology, Phenomena, Tropical

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