Trade winds © Siemens Stiftung 2016 CC BY-SA 4.0 international

Trade winds

The air circulation between the equator and the tropics is characterized by the trade winds.
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Trade winds are identified as the easterly winds north and south of the equator. They are the reason for the heavy rainfall at the equator.
A graphic that can be developed interactively step by step shows the air movements that take place between the equator and the tropics.

Information and ideas:
The easterly direction of the trade winds results from the Earth’s rotation and the associated Coriolis force. This provides links to physics class.
The trade wind cycle operates only where land masses of approximately the same size are located on both sides of the equator: in South America and Africa. In contrast, in Asia the monsoons are responsible for the heavy rainfall. Unlike the trade winds, monsoons can change direction. The students should investigate the connection between trade winds and monsoons as well as the major differences.
Information sheet
Grade 7 to 9; Grade 10 to 13
Middle/high school
Air pressure; Rainforest; Weather; Wind
Siemens Stiftung Media Portal
MediaHouse GmbH using the following sources: Dr. Tom Deutschle and (Matthias Forkel)
© Siemens Stiftung 2016