1.54 – How did wind start?

Food-for-thought post today. How did the first ever gust of wind on planet Earth come to be? Well it seems that the best starting place would be the source of all wind; the sun.

The sun doesn’t just grow the food we eat and remind us when to wake up each morning. It also powers wind turbines and allowed sailors to first cross the vast oceans. As the sun heats the surface of the planet, some areas become hotter faster than others. For example, the ground absorbs (and emits) heat much faster than the sea does. As a result, air will flow between the two areas of different temperature and result in what we observe as wind. Of course there are other mechanisms by which wind may form, but I’m going to guess that this is the major one. So now that we have some wind in a certain direction, other winds can join in to either balance or intensify the existing gusts. Something like the butterfly effect springs to mind here, whereby the smallest change can end up propagating through to become something significant.

Now back the actual origin of wind. Since the sun is much older than the earth, I guess it must have been the moment Earth was formed for the first time, since it is unlikely that the surface would have been entirely uniform in its composition. So there would have been a small temperature gradient and Earth’s first ever gust of wind would be born.

So there you have it. Two minutes of your time spent reading about the origin of wind. Go back to your day now.

Dan

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