Where has the Wind Gone?

What amazing crisp fall days and beautiful leaf colors we’ve been having. But I have been feeling like something has been missing… Where has the wind gone?

Searching for the answer to the question lead me to explore a couple different ecosystems. The famous winds of the Columbia Gorge are created by the climate differences between the coast and the shrub steppe. As the sun warms up the high desert area the air begins to rise creating a low pressure system. Meanwhile out on the coast the cold ocean temperatures create an area of high pressure. The unique shape of the Columbia Gorge help to funnel the winds from the high pressure area to the low pressure one in Eastern Oregon. Like sucking in through a straw, the low pressure in your mouth causes the air from outside, which is at a higher pressure, to speed through the straw into your mouth! In the Gorge, the temperature difference in the two ecosystems is what dictates the intensity of the wind speed, the greater the temperature difference the stronger the winds.

Since the temperatures have been cooling down (break out the sweaters and socks!). The temperature difference has lessened between the coast and the shrub steppe ergo lower wind speeds! But don’t worry, the winds will be back! This phenomenon also works in reverse. In the winter the shrub steppe is actually colder than the coast and so the winds blow Easterly!

You can learn much more about this by reading this scientific paper… or you can watch some videos (like this one, or this one) of the awesome power of the wind!

Leave A Comment