Thursday, September 13, 2018

Worldbuilding: Things I Learned About Wind

Alright, listen up. I was working on my Tal'Guara map the other night (I've been working on it as a setting for a long time but I'm not ready to properly do anything with it yet, expect more ramblings on this subject later) and I was thinking about the concept of people swearing on the seas.

You see, in Tal'Guara, there are some people bound to animal spirits and I was thinking the ones bound to aquatic ones would probably take waters fairly seriously. Then it stands to reason, the avian spirits would swear by the winds. Now I had no idea how wind worked and realized 'well crap, now I have to research that', so I did.

As it turns out, there weren't any convenient worldbuilding documents out there to help me learn only as much as I needed to know about wind to name some important ones for my imaginary place. Well, I'm about to remedy that for y'all. Hang on to your butts.

Disclaimer: I am not a meteorologist. This blog entry is the result of one night of research. Expect it to be irreverent and only teach you as much as you need to know to staple some wind currents to your imaginary place. If you're doing research for your homework, you're going to want to go ask an actual professional and not a professional bullshitter.

We clear? Good, alright, moving along.

But Megan, all I want to know is how many winds I should have named for my world: Okay, in that case the answer is between 20 and 30. 24 is pretty standard. If that's all you want you don't even need bother yourself with the rest of this.

For those of you that actually want to learn how this works to a certain degree so you know where tf those winds should be, keep with me, shit is about to get interesting.

So first of all, what I managed to learn was that there are three kinds of winds.

Planetary (also known as Prevailing) which are constant and world effecting.

Periodic, which change according to time and/or season and generally travel from the cooler place to the warmer place.

And Localized which work pretty much exactly like periodic winds do on a smaller scale so I'm not actually sure why they're different things? Anyway we're going to ignore this last one and focus on the other two.

So Planetary Winds. Here's a nifty (hehe) flow chart.

I don't own this image, I just found it helpful.
Okay so the first thing you will notice is that they all start either at the 30 degree lines or the poles. yes good.

So Tropical Easterlies, AKA Trade Winds, are good because they are consistent and mild enough to facilitate trade (amazing, I know). Good for sailing in, generally blow in an easterly direction (hence the title) and consistently do this.

So in the case of Tal'Guara, this probably works very much the same way with the trade winds being localized there around the equator. Yes good, excellent.

Then you get into fucking Westerlies. Westerlies are not your friends. They want you to capsize and die. They don't like ships, they don't like people, they don't like much of anything because they are spiteful assholes. In our world, they are sometimes called "Roaring forties, furious fifties and screaming sixties".

Basically they blow a lot harder than trade winds and are an absolute bitch to sail in.

If you're going to personify your winds and shit this is where you want to put the mean ones!

Another thing I found out is that the bigger a planets mass the harder the wind is likely to blow. Tal'Guara is larger than earth. I guess 'absolute bitch' is a tiny bit of an understatement, fortunately for Talgan sailors though, wind and water magic exists. Sort of. More on that another time.

Anyway the other kind of wind we're going to talk about here are Periodic Winds.

Monsoon Winds are seasonal. The winter is chill (pun fully intended) but the summer likes to cock up between bringing a metric fuckton of rain and causing droughts for days.

Breezes come in two flavors. Land/Sea, and Mountain/Valley, and those are dictated by the time of day. Remember how I said wind travels from the cooler area to the warmer area? Yeah it's the opposite of how heat travels which is probably why the wind works that way. Anyway, during the day the Land is warmer. So are the Mountains. Ergo during the day you get Sea Breezes and Valley Breezes that come in off the water (bringing rain) and up the slopes respectively.

At night, you get Land Breezes and Mountain Breezes respectively, so dry and from inland out, or down the slopes.

I didn't bother to name any of that shit. I focused on the planetary winds.

So what does this mean for you? This means you're going to want to take your world map, figure out where your equator is (and if you're reading this seriously you probably already have, the kinds of people that want to chart major winds in their world are the kinds of people that know where their equator is already), figure out where your 30 degree points are, and your 60 degree points.

Then map longitude points even if it's just in your head. Divvy your map into quarters. You'll have 8 polar easterlies (four north and four south), 8 tropical easterlies (same), and 8 bitch ass westerlies that everybody hates and wishes would calm down.

You can make more or less division points, if you want. If your world is bigger you can probably get away with fewer, but heck, you're writing fantasy, you can do whatever you want.

One more footnote. Magical weather doesn't have to behave this way as long as you establish a pattern of behavior and stick to it. There's one arcane wind in Tal'Guara, that kicks up around Phantomcrest and makes the weather on the southern coast of Alkyrine a complete bitch to deal with. Notice it blows counter to the trade winds in that area. But it's not being caused by air pressure it's being caused by a fucking wizard.

This has been an irreverent research report. Love you guys, thanks so much for reading <3

Fortune Favors,
Megan R. Miller

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