The images are by NASA. Collected by satellite radar over 10 year period. From its orbit onboard the QuikSCAT satellite, the SeaWinds instrument samples 90 percent of the Earth’s oceans every 24 hours. SeaWinds sends pulses of microwave radiation down to the windroughened surface and measures the backscatter of that radiation that returns to the satellite

Earth’s windiest ocean location is Cape Farewell, Greenland, where gale winds blow 16 percent of the time

People know high winds are found in big storms,” said Xie. “What is most surprising from our research is that narrow ocean currents have such a large effect on the occurrence of high winds. For example, in cold meanders (bends) of the Atlantic’s Gulf Stream, the frequency of high winds drops by an order of magnitude. This knowledge can provide navigators with a ‘safe harbor’ for ships

Typhoons and hurricanes have little impact on the frequency of overall high winds, since they are less frequent than other types of storms in Earth’s mid-latitudes.

Half of the top 10 windiest spots occur where tall coastlines or high mountains meet the sea

Strong winds are much more frequent on the warm side of cold-warm fronts formed where the Atlantic’s warm Gulf Stream flows northward into cold ocean regions. This gives climate scientists important clues about how sharp differences in ocean surface temperatures affect the atmosphere, with warm ocean temperatures creating an unstable atmosphere that sucks strong winds down from aloft

The SeaWinds scatterometer is a scanning microwave radar that uses electromagnetic backscatter from the wind roughened ocean surface at multiple antenna look angles to infer surface wind stress magnitude and direction

Ocean winds modulate air-sea exchanges of heat, moisture, gases, and particulates. This modulation regulates the interaction between the atmosphere and the ocean, which establishes and maintains both regional and global climates

Created By
Alan Phillips

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