Winds with Names

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Sirocco Winds over the Adriatic Sea

More than just a bunch of hot air

Our article about the Chinook winds discussed an unusual meteorological phenomenon, but one thing it didn’t touch on was the peculiarity of a wind having a name in the first place. That strikes me as odd, like a temperature or a humidity level or a barometric pressure having a name. I mean, I get it: we give hurricanes and certain other storms names, and that serves a useful purpose, but just calling the movement of air in a certain way at a certain time by a proper noun seems weird.

Be that as it may, we were able to find quite a few other examples of winds that have names. Here’s a representative sampling—by no means a complete list:

  • Bora: A cold, north-eastern katabatic wind that blows along the east coast of the the Adriatic Sea (including Greece, Russia, and Turkey).
  • Brickfielder: A hot and dry summer wind in Southern Australia.
  • Cape Doctor: A dry south-easterly wind that blows over part of Western Cape Province in South Africa, so named because of its apparent effect of clearing away pollution.
  • Chinook: A warm winter wind in the western United States and Canada.
  • Fremantle Doctor: A cool summer sea breeze on the coast of Western Australia.
  • Halny: A strong, warm föhn wind storm in the Carpathian mountains of Poland and Slovakia.
  • Khamsin: A hot, sandy wind in Egypt.
  • Mistral: A cold, forceful wind that blows in southern France and into the Mediterranean Sea.
  • Santa Ana: A hot, dry wind, usually in autumn, in southern California and northern Mexico.
  • Sirocco: A powerful wind that blows from the Sahara through North Africa and Southern Europe.

Image credit: <a href="">Raymond Bucko, SJ</a> [<a href="">CC BY 2.0</a>], via <a href="">Flickr</a>




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