The air circulation between the equator and the tropics is characterized by the trade winds.
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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.