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The Hadley Cell involves air rising near the equator, flowing toward the North and South Poles, returning to the surface of the Earth in the subtropics, and flowing back toward the equator at the surface of the Earth. This produces winds called the trade winds and the tropical easterlies.
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Image courtesy of Tinka Sloss

Hadley Cell

The Hadley cell is a circulation pattern in the atmosphere in the tropics. The Hadley cell produces winds called the tropical easterlies and the trade winds. In the Hadley cell, air rises up into the atmosphere at or near the equator, flows toward the poles above the surface of the Earth, returns to the Earth’s surface in the subtropics, and flows back towards the equator.

This flow of air occurs because the Sun heats air at the Earth’s surface near the equator. The warm air rises, and once it reaches the top of the troposphere it flows to the side toward the north and south poles. The Hadley cell eventually returns air to the surface of the Earth in the subtropics.

The winds produced by the hadley cell are turned toward the west by the Coriolis effect and become the trade winds or the tropical easterlies.

Last modified October 22, 2008 by Becca Hatheway.

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