How can the air go from so normal that you can’t feel it, to so powerfull it can knock down houses when its super windy?


How can the air go from so normal that you can’t feel it, to so powerfull it can knock down houses when its super windy?

In: Physics

Movement. It is exactly the same as standing in a completely still pool vs the water in that pool being thrown at you at 40 mph.

Air is just some atoms floating around. They are flying objects, they have mass like some rock or something. And they are everywhere tho its not visible. Its like being underwater except air isnt nearly as dense as water. And like the water and a rock, if its fast enough (or very high pressurized) it can take your house down.

There are some places on earth that are hotter than others. It may be due to the presence of forests, sea, or cities. The matter is that hot air is less dense, i.e weights less per “balloon”, than “cold” air. Thus, because it is formed closer to earth, it goes up into the atmosphere, just like oil tends to be on top of water. Because the hot air left empty space where it originated, and nature tends to the equilibrium, other masses of air that did not “ascend” go into the empty space, moving to do so.

We name this movement of air, due to different temperatures, “wind”.

The bigger the temperature difference between the hot air and the cold air (the one that did not “ascend”), the stronger the wind. Sometimes you have masses of air moving thousands of kilometers until they settle, other times they move just a little bit. Furthermore, obstacles such as mountains, buildings and forests may block the wind, slowing it down. Although this does explain different wind intensities, it does not explain why some get so strong, to the point of destroying several houses.

So there are these bad boys called “tornadoes”. Tornadoes form most of the time on the sea, because they require both cold and hot moist masses of air, and there is no better place to acquire moisture than on earth’s gigantic water surface. These masses sometimes meet each other, creating big instabilities, better known as “thunderstorms”. When these thunderstorms have really strong wind involved, the hot air will go rapidly up, and the cold air rapidly down. The wind will make the air masses spin, and throw even more air towards both the ground (cold air) and sky (hot air). Clouds involved begin to make the tornado visible, and the more air it gets, the faster and wider it grows. Then, wind will make it move, just like sometimes rain moves, and eventually hit land, then cities, destroying a lot of buildings. After some time, it begins to lose air instead, due to different climate conditions it reaches (climate is stuff like moisture, temperature, wind normal direction, etc.). Eventually, it completely disappears.

Hope I helped.