Deserts and Hurricanes

If you look carefully at the location of the world’s deserts, you will notice that most of them are located near 30 degrees north and south latitude. This is part of the global circulation pattern induced by the differences of solar energy received around the planet. A simple model of global wind fields would have an overall area of low pressure near the equator. This rising air eventually sinks near 30 degrees north latitude where areas of high pressure dominate.

This sinking motion inhibits cloud formation and also increases temperatures through compressional warming causing large expanses of dry sunny regions. That sinking air then partially returns to the tropics, but because of the rotation of the planet, it is deflect to the right causing the wind in the tropics to be from an easterly direction.

This is turn is why hurricanes move generally from east to west. That flow pattern in the tropics is referred to as the trade winds, or trades.

 

2 thoughts on “Deserts and Hurricanes

  1. Southeastern USA and Southeastern China the only two exceptions because of the placement of the high pressure ridges (Bermuda High in the case of Florida). Plus the Gulf of Mexico helps quite a bit. :-)

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