Local Winds: Mountain Winds
Mountain regions display many interesting weather patterns. One example is the valley wind which originates on south-facing slopes (north-facing in the southern hemisphere). When the slopes and the neighbouring air are heated the density of the air decreases, and the air ascends towards the top following the surface of the slope. At night the wind direction is reversed, and turns into a downslope wind.
If the valley floor is sloped, the air may move down or up the valley, as a canyon wind.
Winds flowing down the leeward sides of mountains can be quite powerful: Examples are the Foehn in the Alps in Europe, the Chinook in the Rocky Mountains, and the Zonda in the Andes.
Examples of other local wind systems are the Mistral flowing down the Rhone valley into the Mediterranean Sea, the Scirocco, a southerly wind from Sahara blowing into the Mediterranean sea.
© Copyright 1997-2003 Danish Wind Industry Association
Updated 1 June 2003