Kite Squamish – Understanding the Wind

Part 2 – Trade Winds

Since kitesurfing is a wind driven sport it is important to understand and be able to read the wind.
When kiteboarding Canada and you come to Squamish the first thing you are going to notice is that we kite here right between the mountains. Your usual kitespots are normally located at a beach or a big lake and for kiteboarding Canada offers a wide variety of conditions.
In different countries and on different locations we experience different wind. At most of the locations when kiteboarding Canada we experience frontal winds. A special treat when kiteboarding Canada are the thermal winds in Squamish. But before we talk about those we want to talk about Trade Winds.


Trade Winds


The trade winds are the prevailing pattern of surface winds from the east toward the west (easterly wind) found in the tropics. We find them within the lower portion of the Earth’s atmosphere, in the lower part of the troposphere near the Earth’s equator.
The trade winds blow predominantly from the northeast in the Northern Hemisphere and from the southeast in the Southern Hemisphere, strengthening during the winter and when the Arctic oscillation is in its warm phase. 
The trade winds have not just been used by captains of sailing ships to cross the world’s oceans for centuries, but are also very much enjoyed by kitesurfers as they are very smooth and consistent.


Cause of the trade winds

As we already know the sun causes an uneven distribution of heating which is greatest near the equator and least at the poles. The resulting pressure difference is the major driving force of atmospheric circulation.
The surface air that flows from these subtropical high-pressure belts toward the Equator is deflected toward the west in both hemispheres by the Coriolis effect.
These trade winds blow predominantly from the northeast in the Northern Hemisphere and from the southeast in the Southern Hemisphere.
Because winds are named for the direction from which the wind is blowing, these winds are called the north-easterly trade winds in the Northern Hemisphere and the southeasterly trade winds in the Southern Hemisphere.

So if you are not kiting in the tropic come for kiteboarding Canada and experience a wide variety of conditions.