Wind is defined as the flow of gases on a large scale or, on the surface of Earth, consists of the bulk movement of air. Wind applies to any air in motion, in whatever direction, and at whatever speed.
Wind is caused by differences in atmospheric pressure. When this difference exists, air moves from the area of higher pressure to the area of lower pressure. The differences in air pressure are caused by temperature. Due to the Coriolis effect, air will not flow directly from high to low but will instead be deflected. This is except for exactly at the Equator.
In meteorology, winds are often referred to according to their strength and the direction from which the wind is blowing. For example, winds moving 10 MPH NNW is coming from the north-northwest. Short bursts of high-speed wind are called gusts and strong winds of intermediate duration are called squalls.
Winds occur on a range of scales, ranging from local winds caused by uneven heating of land surfaces to global winds resulting from the difference in solar energy absorption between the Earth’s climate zones.
Given this information, some parts of the United States are significantly more windy than other parts. One of the reasons Chicago is known as the “windy city” is because of the frigid breezes that blow over Lake Michigan and through the city streets. The Great Lakes create lake breezes, which are generated mostly on sunny days, causing a large temperature difference between the water and land. States in this region will experience cool lake breezes, especially in the summer.
Wind can be used as a renewable energy source. Wind power is generated by wind turbines. When the wind blows against a wind turbine, it turns its blades. The wind turns the blades of a turbine around a rotor that spins a generator either directly or through a shaft and a series of gears that speed up the rotation from the blades and allows for a smaller generator to be used. This creates electricity. In 2019, the United States produced 105,446 megawatts of cumulative wind capacity.
Windiest U.S. States
To determine which states are the windiest in America, the Global Wind Atlas 3.0 was used. The Global Wind Atlas is a web-based application developed, owned, and operated by the Technical University of Denmark. Data analysis website Stacker used the Global Wind Atlas to find each state’s mean wind speeds at 328 feet (100 meters) above sea level for the top 10% windiest areas of each state.
Wind speeds in this article are reported in miles per hour (mph) and are accompanied by the state’s mean wind power density reported in Watters per meter squared (W/m^2). Wind power density is the quantity of electric power that may be generated by wind. Knowing the mean wind power density is helpful for those looking to use wind energy to power their homes.
In general, the windiest states are in the West and the Great Plains, while the Southeast states are the least windy.
The ten windiest states in the U.S. are below.
Mean wind speed for 10% of the windiest areas at 328 feet: 21.9 mph Mean wind power density: 1,611 W/m^2
Mean wind speed for 10% of the windiest areas at 328 feet: 21.5 mph Mean wind power density: 964 W/m^2
Mean wind speed for 10% of the windiest areas at 328 feet: 20.9 mph Mean wind power density: 880 W/m^2
Mean wind speed for the 10% of the windiest areas at 328 feet: 20.5 mph Mean wind power density: 985 W/m^2
Mean wind speed for 10% of the windiest areas at 328 feet: 20.5 mph Mean wind power density: 692 W/m^2
6. South Dakota
Mean wind speed for 10% of the windiest areas at 328 feet: 20.3 mph Mean wind power density: 722 W/m^2
Mean wind speed for 10% of the windiest areas at 328 feet: 20.2 Mean wind power density: 807 W/m^2
Mean wind speed for 10% of the windiest areas at 328 feet: 20.2 mph Mean wind power density: 683 W/m^2
Mean wind speed for 10% of the windiest areas at 328 feet: 20.0 mph Mean wind power density: 751 W/m^2
Mean wind speed for 10% of the windiest areas at 328 feet: 19.9 mph Mean wind power density: 717 W/m^2
On the other hand, the ten least windy states in the U.S. are: