Breakdown: Why winds are so calm at the equator
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Did you know that right at the equator there is almost no wind at all?
This area is sometimes called the doldrums.
But why is it so calm?
Near the equator are something known as “trade winds.” The trade winds are air currents closer to Earth’s surface that blow from east to west just north and south of the equator.
These trade winds converge and meet together, which causes air uplift at the equator.
Additionally, since the Sun shines directly on the equator, it creates very intense heat.
Due to intense solar heating, the warm air is forced up into the atmosphere like a hot air balloon, rather than blowing horizontally. The result is little or no wind.
During the age of sailing when wind was the main source of naval propulsion, the doldrums were a very real trap for sailing ships, which could be stuck for weeks on end on windless waters.
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