Understanding Wind Turbulence- Weather Education

If the world was flat and smooth, there would be little wind variation from place to place. But by adding topography (hills, valleys, trees, buildings, islands, etc.), a highly variable wind regime exists. Known as surface friction, objects in the path of wind flow affect all three wind traits (speed, direction, change).

Rough surfaces, such as areas with trees and buildings, will produce more friction and turbulence than smooth surfaces, such as lakes or open cropland. Obstructions can drastically reduce wind quality by adding nasty turbulence. Or, there may even be a wind “shadow” where an object impedes the wind flow.

While buildings, hills, valleys, trees and mountains typically create unstable air, each geographical feature uniquely influences the flow of wind. Certain conditions, such as that of valleys – which tend to funnel winds into tighter spaces – can actually accelerate the wind.

Through reading water texture and understanding turbulence, you’re well on your way to being a wind guru. However, you should also know about the dangers of thunderstorms, squalls, etc., so it is a good idea to continue your education.

When wind flows over an object, it becomes turbulent for seven times the object’s height downwind and three times the object’s height upwind and sidewind.

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