Many of us have seen beautiful, warm, autumn days turn unbearably cold in what seems like minutes. These dramatic temperature shifts are almost always ushered in by powerful winds. What may be less obvious is that temperature differences—or temperature gradients—between air masses is what actually causes wind. This interactive activity, adapted from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, puts you in control of the temperature gradient between two air masses and models the effects that changes in the temperature gradient have on wind speed.
This media asset was adapted from Jet Stream and Horizontal Temperature Gradients by Steve Ackerman and Tom Whittaker.