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But Why: A Podcast For Curious Kids, How does the wind blow? (1)

How does the wind blow? (1)

January 14, 2021

Jane 00:21

This is But Why: a Podcast for Curious Kids from Vermont Public Radio. I'm Jane Lindholm. On this show we take questions from curious kids just like you and we find answers. What we're talking about today is something that you can hear but not see, feel but not hold. Hang on. I'll give you an audio clue. That means a sound clue.

Jane 00:58

I bet you've guessed it: wind. We have so many questions you've sent us about wind.

Freya 01:05

Hello, my name is Freya and I come from Wellington, New Zealand. I am 10 years old. And my question is what causes wind?

Rowan 01:13

My name is Rowan, and I'm 10 years old. And I live in Ferrisburgh, Vermont. My question is, how is when created?

Gael 01:20

My name is Gael. I'm from the Philippines. And I'm eight years old. And my question is where does wind come from?

Brandon 01:28

My name is Brandon, and I'm five years old. I'm from California. What blows the wind?

Cora 01:35

Hi, my name is Cora. And I'm six years old. And I live in Houston, Texas. My question is why does wind happen?

Tilia 01:44

My name is Tilia. I live in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I'm 10 years old. And my question is, where does wind come from?

Jane 01:52

Those were just six of the questions we've gotten. And when I say we have so many. I mean, we have so many, like 80. We won't be able to play every single one of them today. But luckily, a lot of you are

wondering the same basic thing. What is wind? And how does it blow. We invited someone right here in Vermont, where we make the show to help us learn more.

Rebecca 02:16

My name is Rebecca Duell. And I am a meteorologist, which is kind of a fancy word for just a forecaster. So I forecast the weather at the National Weather Service. And there's 122 different offices all over the country. And I work at the one in Burlington, Vermont.

Jane 02:33

When you say you forecast or sometimes people say predict the weather, do you just guess?

Rebecca 02:39

Yeah, it's pretty. It's it's pretty interesting how we do it. It's kind of evolved. So you know, 100 years ago? Yeah, it kind of was like just looking at the areas where you know, the winds coming from and then you know, seeing what's coming up to where we are.

Jane 02:52

Like, call your friends who live a couple of hours away and say, what's it doing out where you are, and then think that's what we're gonna have?

Rebecca 02:58

Yeah, by telegram back in the day. But now, it's evolved so much. And the science of you know, predicting or forecasting, the weather has changed so much in just like the last few decades, even. So now most of it's done on computers. So we have what we call these computer models that have come a long way in the past few decades. And we put all of this information into these computer models. And then they kind of spit out a few scenarios of what may happen. And we don't know which one's right. And they're always a little bit different. And that's what makes our job kind of difficult is trying to pick out which computer model makes the most sense. And that's, you know, the forecast that we would go with, but it's kind of become a lot more technology-based over the last few decades.

Jane 03:45

So Rebecca, we wanted to talk to you today because we specifically want to talk about one kind of weather phenomenon, which no matter where you live, you're probably at least a little bit familiar with some places have more of this than others. But we want to talk about wind.

Maya 04:09

My name is Maya, and Iam six years old. I live in Seattle, Washington. And my question is, how is wind created?

Parker 04:21

Hi, I'm Parker. I'm seven years old. I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee. My question is how does the wind get made?

Shira 04:32

-2-

My name is Shira. I am six years old. I live in California.

Axel 04:41

Hi, my name is Axel. I live in Chicago, Illinois.

Aria 04:44

Aria. And I'm five years old. I live in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Ira 04:50

Hi, my name's Ira. And I'm four and a half almost five. I live in California.

Derin 04:58

I'm Derin. I'm eight years old, and I'm from Portland, Oregon.

Carter 05:03

My name is Carter. I'm six years old. I live in Los Angeles, California.

Hazel 05:10

My name is Hazel. And I'm four. And I live in Missouri.

Emory 05:16

My name is Emory, and I'm five years old. I live in Charlotte, North Carolina. And my question is, where does the wind come from?

Liliana 05:26

Hi, my name is Liliana, and I live in Denver, Colorado, and I am seven years old.

Audrey 05:36

My name is Audrey. I am six years old. I live in Cottage Grove, Minnesota.

Alma 05:42

My name is Alma. I live in Columbus Avenue, St. Paul Minneapolis.

Ellie 05:48

My name is Ellie. I'm six years old. I live in Alameda, California. And my question is, where does wind come from?

Charlotte 05:58

My name is Charlotte. And I'm five. And I'm from Cambridge, Vermont. And my question is, how does earth make wind?

Jane 06:08

We also got that same question from Kaia who's three and a half and lives in Burlington, Vermont. So what is wind? And where does it come from?

Rebecca 06:16

Wind, it's just air moving. Basically, if you think about it, you know, air is it's everywhere, it's around us. And we don't really see it. But it's always there. And it's always kind of moving and in motion. And that's just what the wind is, it's just the air moving from one place to another place, the wind is essentially, the atmosphere. So it just always wants to be in balance, that's kind of the gist of all weather is just the atmosphere trying to remain in balance. And if you think about it that way, and you keep that in mind, that's kind of how you can understand wind. So some areas, there's more air at any given time and other areas, there's less air. So when the atmosphere wants to kind of balance it out, it wants to send the air from the areas where there's more air to areas where there's less air, and it just kind of wants to fill in those areas to kind of balance everything out. And that's all wind is it's just the air moving from an area where there's more, you know, more air, or we call it higher pressure is something that we talk about. And you've probably seen it, if you watch the the weather on TV, they talk about pressure, and we can kind of dive into that a little bit. But it's just air flowing from higher pressure to lower pressure.

Jane 07:24

When you say the atmosphere wants to balance out, it makes it sound like the atmosphere is alive and has things that it is trying to do, which, you know, we know the atmosphere isn't really a live thing in and of itself. It's not a person saying I want balance. So what do you mean that the atmosphere wants to be balanced or wants to be in balance?

Rebecca 07:44

Yeah, so it's just kind of the forces and through understanding, you know, science over the last few 100 years, you know, some of the basic laws of physics are just that things want to remain in balance. And that's how a lot of things kind of exist in the science world. And so when the atmosphere wants to remain in balance, if a storm, you know, gets too strong, eventually, it'll fill in and then and that's how you get storms created. And then that's how you get storms that kind of dissipate as well. So that's the atmosphere is way of balancing things out. And the sun is kind of always throwing things out of balance a little bit, because it's always heating the earth. And that's where you start getting these imbalances. So that's where you get wind kind of responding to that.

Rebecca 08:29

We have one question from Harlan, who, who just wants to understand a little bit more.

Harlan 08:33

I live in Aspen, Colorado. How does wind happen? Because when, because air is basically impossible to move.

Jane 08:44

So when we talk about air moving, you know, when we think about things like waves in the ocean, that's energy moving through the water, but it's not really the water necessarily moving. It's the energy that moves and the water kind of, you know, sort of stays in one place. Is it similar with wind, that wind is energy moving through the atmosphere, but the air around you isn't necessarily coming from somewhere else and moving to somewhere else?

Rebecca 09:10

Yeah, actually, the air is coming from somewhere else in the atmosphere that is moving. And actually it's kind of neat. The last couple of days here in Vermont, we've had really, really cold weather. In fact, it's been the coldest weather we've seen in three or four years here in Vermont. And something really neat that we did is using these computer models we looked at where the air came from just a few days ago that's over us right now. And actually, just a few days ago, it was over the Arctic, it was like really close to the North Pole. So that's pretty neat. So that air actually came and the air we're breathing in over these past few days where it's been really, really cold here in Vermont is the same air that was actually over the Arctic over the past few days. So it actually is moving.

Rebecca 09:52

So how does the wind start blowing? And how does it stop blowing?

Remy 09:58

My name is Remy. I'm four years old and I live in Boston. And I want to know, how does the wind start blowing?

Felix 10:10

Hello, my name is Felix and I am seven years old. And I live in London. And my question is how does wind start?

Gabe 10:23

Hi, my name is Gabe. And I'm five years old. And I live in Alameda, California. And my question is, how does wind start?

Parent 10:36 Here's your brother.

Ben 10:40

My name is Ben. I'm two years old. Why does wind stop?

Parent 10:48

Why does wind stop?

Rebecca 10:50

Yeah, so the wind will start blowing when things are out of balance. So when one area is heated more than another area, and most of the time, you know that heating that'll come from the sun, so the sun will heat one area, and maybe another area will be heated less. And then we know through science, that warm air rises, it's actually a little bit lighter, or we call it less dense, and warm air rises and cold air sinks. And that's just kind of a laws of how the atmosphere works. So when you get heating of a certain area the air is going to rise. And then you get air rushing at the surface to fill in that essentially like vacancy that hole of where you know, we're losing the air because it's going up. And then that's where the wind starts. So if things are kind of not in very good balance, that's when you get really windy

conditions. But say if you're you know, everything's really equal. Or if you're right under a high pressure system, then you're not going to get very much wind.

Jane 11:50

Sometimes you can be hanging out outside and it's kind of a windy day, and then all of a sudden, you'll feel a really big gust of wind what's happening when the wind kind of starts and stops during a windy day or during a wind event.


How does the wind blow? (1)

January 14, 2021

**Jane** 00:21

This is But Why: a Podcast for Curious Kids from Vermont Public Radio. I'm Jane Lindholm. On this show we take questions from curious kids just like you and we find answers. What we're talking about today is something that you can hear but not see, feel but not hold. Hang on. I'll give you an audio clue. That means a sound clue.

**Jane** 00:58

I bet you've guessed it: wind. We have so many questions you've sent us about wind.

**Freya** 01:05

Hello, my name is Freya and I come from Wellington, New Zealand. I am 10 years old. And my question is what causes wind?

**Rowan** 01:13

My name is Rowan, and I'm 10 years old. And I live in Ferrisburgh, Vermont. My question is, how is when created?

**Gael** 01:20

My name is Gael. I'm from the Philippines. And I'm eight years old. And my question is where does wind come from?

**Brandon** 01:28

My name is Brandon, and I'm five years old. I'm from California. What blows the wind?

**Cora** 01:35

Hi, my name is Cora. And I'm six years old. And I live in Houston, Texas. My question is why does wind happen?

**Tilia** 01:44

My name is Tilia. I live in Winnipeg, Manitoba. I'm 10 years old. And my question is, where does wind come from?

**Jane** 01:52

Those were just six of the questions we've gotten. And when I say we have so many. I mean, we have so many, like 80. We won't be able to play every single one of them today. But luckily, a lot of you are

wondering the same basic thing. What is wind? And how does it blow. We invited someone right here in Vermont, where we make the show to help us learn more.

**Rebecca** 02:16

My name is Rebecca Duell. And I am a meteorologist, which is kind of a fancy word for just a forecaster. So I forecast the weather at the National Weather Service. And there's 122 different offices all over the country. And I work at the one in Burlington, Vermont.

**Jane** 02:33

When you say you forecast or sometimes people say predict the weather, do you just guess?

**Rebecca** 02:39

Yeah, it's pretty. It's it's pretty interesting how we do it. It's kind of evolved. So you know, 100 years ago? Yeah, it kind of was like just looking at the areas where you know, the winds coming from and then you know, seeing what's coming up to where we are.

**Jane** 02:52

Like, call your friends who live a couple of hours away and say, what's it doing out where you are, and then think that's what we're gonna have?

**Rebecca** 02:58

Yeah, by telegram back in the day. But now, it's evolved so much. And the science of you know, predicting or forecasting, the weather has changed so much in just like the last few decades, even. So now most of it's done on computers. So we have what we call these computer models that have come a long way in the past few decades. And we put all of this information into these computer models. And then they kind of spit out a few scenarios of what may happen. And we don't know which one's right. And they're always a little bit different. And that's what makes our job kind of difficult is trying to pick out which computer model makes the most sense. And that's, you know, the forecast that we would go with, but it's kind of become a lot more technology-based over the last few decades.

**Jane** 03:45

So Rebecca, we wanted to talk to you today because we specifically want to talk about one kind of weather phenomenon, which no matter where you live, you're probably at least a little bit familiar with some places have more of this than others. But we want to talk about wind.

**Maya** 04:09

My name is Maya, and Iam six years old. I live in Seattle, Washington. And my question is, how is wind created?

**Parker** 04:21

Hi, I'm Parker. I'm seven years old. I live in Chattanooga, Tennessee. My question is how does the wind get made?

**Shira** 04:32

-2-

My name is Shira. I am six years old. I live in California.

**Axel** 04:41

Hi, my name is Axel. I live in Chicago, Illinois.

**Aria** 04:44

Aria. And I'm five years old. I live in Greensboro, North Carolina.

**Ira** 04:50

Hi, my name's Ira. And I'm four and a half almost five. I live in California.

**Derin** 04:58

I'm Derin. I'm eight years old, and I'm from Portland, Oregon.

**Carter** 05:03

My name is Carter. I'm six years old. I live in Los Angeles, California.

**Hazel** 05:10

My name is Hazel. And I'm four. And I live in Missouri.

**Emory** 05:16

My name is Emory, and I'm five years old. I live in Charlotte, North Carolina. And my question is, where does the wind come from?

**Liliana** 05:26

Hi, my name is Liliana, and I live in Denver, Colorado, and I am seven years old.

**Audrey** 05:36

My name is Audrey. I am six years old. I live in Cottage Grove, Minnesota.

**Alma** 05:42

My name is Alma. I live in Columbus Avenue, St. Paul Minneapolis.

**Ellie** 05:48

My name is Ellie. I'm six years old. I live in Alameda, California. And my question is, where does wind come from?

**Charlotte** 05:58

My name is Charlotte. And I'm five. And I'm from Cambridge, Vermont. And my question is, how does earth make wind?

**Jane** 06:08

We also got that same question from Kaia who's three and a half and lives in Burlington, Vermont. So what is wind? And where does it come from?

**Rebecca** 06:16

Wind, it's just air moving. Basically, if you think about it, you know, air is it's everywhere, it's around us. And we don't really see it. But it's always there. And it's always kind of moving and in motion. And that's just what the wind is, it's just the air moving from one place to another place, the wind is essentially, the atmosphere. So it just always wants to be in balance, that's kind of the gist of all weather is just the atmosphere trying to remain in balance. And if you think about it that way, and you keep that in mind, that's kind of how you can understand wind. So some areas, there's more air at any given time and other areas, there's less air. So when the atmosphere wants to kind of balance it out, it wants to send the air from the areas where there's more air to areas where there's less air, and it just kind of wants to fill in those areas to kind of balance everything out. And that's all wind is it's just the air moving from an area where there's more, you know, more air, or we call it higher pressure is something that we talk about. And you've probably seen it, if you watch the the weather on TV, they talk about pressure, and we can kind of dive into that a little bit. But it's just air flowing from higher pressure to lower pressure.

**Jane** 07:24

When you say the atmosphere wants to balance out, it makes it sound like the atmosphere is alive and has things that it is trying to do, which, you know, we know the atmosphere isn't really a live thing in and of itself. It's not a person saying I want balance. So what do you mean that the atmosphere wants to be balanced or wants to be in balance?

**Rebecca** 07:44

Yeah, so it's just kind of the forces and through understanding, you know, science over the last few 100 years, you know, some of the basic laws of physics are just that things want to remain in balance. And that's how a lot of things kind of exist in the science world. And so when the atmosphere wants to remain in balance, if a storm, you know, gets too strong, eventually, it'll fill in and then and that's how you get storms created. And then that's how you get storms that kind of dissipate as well. So that's the atmosphere is way of balancing things out. And the sun is kind of always throwing things out of balance a little bit, because it's always heating the earth. And that's where you start getting these imbalances. So that's where you get wind kind of responding to that.

**Rebecca** 08:29

We have one question from Harlan, who, who just wants to understand a little bit more.

**Harlan** 08:33

I live in Aspen, Colorado. How does wind happen? Because when, because air is basically impossible to move.

**Jane** 08:44

So when we talk about air moving, you know, when we think about things like waves in the ocean, that's energy moving through the water, but it's not really the water necessarily moving. It's the energy that moves and the water kind of, you know, sort of stays in one place. Is it similar with wind, that wind is energy moving through the atmosphere, but the air around you isn't necessarily coming from somewhere else and moving to somewhere else?

**Rebecca** 09:10

Yeah, actually, the air is coming from somewhere else in the atmosphere that is moving. And actually it's kind of neat. The last couple of days here in Vermont, we've had really, really cold weather. In fact, it's been the coldest weather we've seen in three or four years here in Vermont. And something really neat that we did is using these computer models we looked at where the air came from just a few days ago that's over us right now. And actually, just a few days ago, it was over the Arctic, it was like really close to the North Pole. So that's pretty neat. So that air actually came and the air we're breathing in over these past few days where it's been really, really cold here in Vermont is the same air that was actually over the Arctic over the past few days. So it actually is moving.

**Rebecca** 09:52

So how does the wind start blowing? And how does it stop blowing?

**Remy** 09:58

My name is Remy. I'm four years old and I live in Boston. And I want to know, how does the wind start blowing?

**Felix** 10:10

Hello, my name is Felix and I am seven years old. And I live in London. And my question is how does wind start?

**Gabe** 10:23

Hi, my name is Gabe. And I'm five years old. And I live in Alameda, California. And my question is, how does wind start?

**Parent** 10:36 Here's your brother.

**Ben** 10:40

My name is Ben. I'm two years old. Why does wind stop?

**Parent** 10:48

Why does wind stop?

**Rebecca** 10:50

Yeah, so the wind will start blowing when things are out of balance. So when one area is heated more than another area, and most of the time, you know that heating that'll come from the sun, so the sun will heat one area, and maybe another area will be heated less. And then we know through science, that warm air rises, it's actually a little bit lighter, or we call it less dense, and warm air rises and cold air sinks. And that's just kind of a laws of how the atmosphere works. So when you get heating of a certain area the air is going to rise. And then you get air rushing at the surface to fill in that essentially like vacancy that hole of where you know, we're losing the air because it's going up. And then that's where the wind starts. So if things are kind of not in very good balance, that's when you get really windy

conditions. But say if you're you know, everything's really equal. Or if you're right under a high pressure system, then you're not going to get very much wind.

**Jane** 11:50

Sometimes you can be hanging out outside and it's kind of a windy day, and then all of a sudden, you'll feel a really big gust of wind what's happening when the wind kind of starts and stops during a windy day or during a wind event.