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Become a nitrogen atom in the nitrogen cycle in our Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit/Game. See all our games, activity kits and classroom activities.

Video courtesy of the Little Shop of Physics.

Convection Cells Move Air Around

When you warm air, it rises. Cool air will sink. This process of convection can lead to flows in the atmosphere, in a manner than we can illustrate on a small scale. Warm and cool air in a fish tank rise and fall; this motion is made visible by adding fog. Ultimately, the motion leads to a convection cell, with air rising, moving to the side, falling, and moving back. This heat-driven motion of air moves heat around in the atmosphere. It is also responsible for making the wind blow.

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Last modified March 26, 2010 by Randy Russell.

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Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF