Wind is "AIR IN MOTION" (or Moving Air) and is made by differences in the AIR PRESSURES. Warm Air rises, pushes up ...(like when you open a heated oven's door and the heat bellows out and goes straight UP to the ceiling like a helium filled balloon.) Warm Air is light in weight. While on the other hand, Cold Air is heavy in weight and keeps closer to the earth's surface. So wind is 'made' when the sun heats the earth's surface and the air near the surface become warmer and lighter. This warm air rises and while it is rising, cold/cooler air replaces where the warm air left. Then that cool air is eventually heated and rises, too This process is continual. This movement of air is called, you guessed it...WIND!
Types of Wind
In the days when ships and other vessels relied on WIND, their captains and sailors dreaded crossing the EQUATOR. Along it lies a belt of nearly windless low pressure call "doldrums". (Familiar saying?) It is here ships would lie motionless from weeks to months running low or out of food and water supplies. Once they drifted through the "doldrums", the captain knew he would find a broad band of global winds called "trade winds". And the trade winds would bring them to the "westerlies". The Sailors knew the SPEED and the DIRECTION and so they knew how long their journey would take to make their journey a success.
Sailors knew it would always meet certain winds because they knew the Sun heats the Earth in the same way ALL THE TIME. (The Sailors knew "what makes wind".) The resulting air movement creates bands of "these predictable winds around the globe called Prevailing Winds.
Land and Sea Breezes
If you live by the sea and are considering using Wind as a source of energy .... the following two diagrams will help you plan placement and designs of a home wind power system that utilized residential wind power turbines.
Sea breezes form along the shore because land heats up and cools down faster than water. On a sunny day, air over land quickly warms up and rises, creating a zone of low pressure. Cool, high-pressure ocean airs pours into the low pressure area fast enough to make a breeze. A "constant flow of air", not necessarily an "intense force of air", is what fuels a home wind power turbine. And it is the Turbine which "turns wind into wind power". So, Sea living has excellent potential not only for solar power but also for Wind Power.
So What Makes Wind?...The Sun.
The above diagram shows what happens to the sea breeze at night. As you can see, the situation reverses. The Land cools quickly. Air over land now has higher pressure than sea air, because the sea water is great storage for solar heat. The Cycle is reverse and the wind is blowing towards the sea. Home Wind Powered Turbines would have to accommodate this change at night to catch that wind's energy. Many have tails and swivel.
Land Affects the Wind
Forest areas slow wind down by blocking its way. And city's tall buildings can block and change direction and speed of wind too. Open plains have no barriers.
There are many instruments for measuring wind on the market. If you think you have potential for Wind Power System, find a "Wind Meter" that can detects wind speed, calculates avg. speed, avg. power density, monthly averages. You can also check the maps from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, NREL, in the United States Click ON the Logo to the Right.