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WORLD WINDS 

In the vicinity of the equator is a belt of light and variable winds known as the doldrums. On the poleward side of the doldrums are the TRADE WINDS; the predominant wind system of the tropics. These easterly winds are the most consistent on Earth, especially over the oceans. Near 30°N and 30°S latitudes lie the sub-tropic high-pressure belts. Winds are light and variable. These areas are referred to as the HORSE LATITUDES.

The prevailing westerlies, which are on the poleward side of the subtropical high-pressure belt, are persistent throughout the mid-latitudes. In the Northern Hemisphere, the direction of the westerlies at the surface is from the southwest. In the Southern Hemisphere, westerlies are from

Figure 3-1-6.—Idealized pattern of the general circulation. (The 3-cell theory.)

the northwest. This is due to the deflection resulting from the Coriolis effect as the air moves poleward.  

Poleward of the prevailing westerlies, near 60°N and 60°S latitudes, lies the belt of low pressure known as the polar front zone. Here, converging winds result in ascending air currents and consequent poor weather.

Learning Objective: Describe how geostrophic wind, gradient wind, cyclos-trophic wind, and fronts affect the direc-tion of the wind.

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