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Learn about planets outside our solar system through Exoplanets and Alien Solar Systems by Tahir Yaqoob, Ph.D., a book in our online store book collection.

Video courtesy of the Little Shop of Physics.

Global Winds

In places that have differences in air temperature, convection will make the air move around, from hot to cold. So why don't winds on this planet move in a predictable direction: from the equator, where it's warm, to the poles, where it's cold?

There is a complication: Earth is not standing still, is it? It's spinning! So there are other forces involved.

In the studio, Brian and two students demonstrate this with a spinning bowl, water and dry ice - the clouds generated by the water and dry ice show the motion of the air, simple convection complicated by the spinning of the bowl.

Right-click (Windows) or Option-click (Mac) here to download a copy of this video in QuickTime format.

Click here to learn more about the Little Shop of Physics.

Last modified March 26, 2010 by Randy Russell.

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The Fall 2009 issue of The Earth Scientist, which includes articles on student research into building design for earthquakes and a classroom lab on the composition of the Earth’s ancient atmosphere, is available in our online store.

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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