What are Variable Winds?

There are two chief types of variable winds — cyclones and anti-cyclones.

Variable Winds


  • Cyclones are variable winds. In low latitudes, an intense depression with low-pressure conditions develops, known as tropical cyclones. These last only for few days.
  • Because of the Coriolis Effect, the cyclones blow in an anti-clockwise direction in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Cyclones are associated with turbulent weather, cloudy weather, strong winds, and intense rainfall.
  • A Tornado is a tropical cyclone that occurs over land. It is a funnel-shaped cloud extending downwards from the base of the thunderstorms. They may travel at a high speed of 500–800 km per hour. They are generally experienced over tropical waters in North America.
  • Hurricanes and typhoons are some other tropical cyclones.
  • Temperate cyclones are active over mid-latitudinal regions between 35° and 65° latitude in both hemispheres.
  • Anti-cyclones represent calm weather. Winds blow gently in the clockwise direction in the Northern Hemisphere and in the anti-clockwise direction in the Southern Hemisphere.

Differences between cyclones and anti-cyclones

It is a low-pressure system with surroundings of high pressure.It is a high-pressure system with surroundings of low pressure
It blows anti-clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere.It blows clockwise in the Northern
It blows clockwise in the Southern HemisphereIt blows anti-clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.
It is associated with cloudy skies, heavy rainfall with stormy winds.It is associated with clear skies, mild winds, and dry conditions.
It can cause great damage to life and property if precautions are not taken.The weather is settled and pleasant.

Jet Streams

  • Jet streams are winds that blow horizontally from west to east at a high speed near the tropopause and the stratosphere. These are high-speed winds that influence the weather and climatic conditions of the region over which they blow.
  • There are two types of jet streams that blow at a tropical belt of 300 north latitudes—the westerly jet stream and the easterly jet stream.
  • A branch of the Westerly jet stream brings moderate to heavy rainfall followed by cold waves in the Indian subcontinent.
  • The Easterly jet stream also helps the monsoon winds to blow into the greater part of India and bring monsoon showers.

Also, Read Pressure belts and types of winds

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