Prevailing Wind

Little Huia


I remember years ago, recording on a beach down on the West Coast of the South Island and a local farmer came wandering along & during our conversation I asked him what the prevailing wind was here.. He gave me a look, a bit like ‘are you an idiot?’ and replied ‘from the sea’ – well, duh! Of course… And I did already know this, as anyone who has visited the West Coast knows, a Nor Wester will pour with rain there… & be dry on the other side of the alps…


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I visited these trees way down South, pretty much as far as you can go south in NZ without crossing over to Stewart Island, and they so beautifully visualise the prevailing wind;
a southerly direct from Antarctica!


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I shot those photos in a paddock right by Cosy Nook a rocky inlet on what must be a very bleak coast in winter… Had I been aware & done a little more research I likely would have also visited Slope Point, where these photos were taken, such incredibly wind tortured trees!

As someone who either tries to record the wind, or alternatively avoid the wind while recording other sounds it is interesting to learn about the prevailing winds… The image below is from wikipedia and illustrates how prevailing winds are a part of our planets global circulation

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But for a beautiful and current (within 3 hours) animated visualisation of global wind I highly reccomend visiting Earth, a visualization of global weather conditions which is ‘forecast by supercomputers & updated every three hours’ and was created by Cameron Beccario (that link is set to display the planet with New Zealand in the foreground, but you can simply click/drag the globe to see what the wind is doing where you live)

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One Response to Prevailing Wind

  1. Erik says:

    Haha wow yeah they look /really/ tortured for evergreens — and all the white and grey parts remind me of the scary Hyena habitat in the Lion King haha, but I guess those don’t live in NZ.
    Torture really bends these trees though: wind from the sea blasts a small load of salt and sand against every object in its range. Trees, on their hand, develop new buds everywhere around their stems, but the winds scourge all the buds turned towards the sea which kills the development on that side. So: if you see a crooked tree, you don’t only know the prevailing wind, you even know the shortest path to the sea! (but that isn’t too much of a challenge in NZ, is it? :))

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