What are Planetary Winds?

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 9th, 2023

Planetary Winds blow from high-pressure belts to low-pressure belts in the same direction throughout the year. These are also called prevailing winds. Planetary winds blow in one direction over a certain area of the Earth. Planetary winds often move from east to west rather than north to south, and this is due to the Earth’s rotation creating the Coriolis effect.

Classification of Planetary Winds

Planetary winds are the flow of a whole tear from one latitude to another due to differences in air pressure. There are three types of Planetary Winds – westerly winds, easterly winds, and polar easterlies.

The Westerlies

  • In the Northern Hemisphere, high-pressure subtropical to pole winds is deflected to the right and therefore blow from the southwest.
  • In the Southern Hemisphere, these winds deflect to the left and blow from the northwest, hence these winds are called westerly winds.

The Easterlies

  • Westerly winds below the high-pressure subtropical areas towards the low-pressure equatorial regions. These are also called trade winds.
  • Since easterlies blow mainly from the east, they are also called tropical easterlies.

Polar Easterlies

  • These winds move from the polar regions to the sub-polar low-pressure areas.
  • The direction of these winds is from North-East to South-West in the Northern Hemisphere and from South-East to North-West in the Southern Hemisphere.

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