Planetary Winds (Basics of Geography) – UPSC Notes/PDF

Here, we are going to discuss various types of winds that prevail between different latitudes. However, the winds do not change because they move in different latitudes rather it is their character, their origin, their direction which led us to name these winds.

Source: ResearchGate

Trade Winds

  • These winds are between 0° to 30° latitude. They are called trade winds because in ancient times they helped the traders to move faster in the ocean.
  • In the northern hemisphere, it is called the north-east trade winds. Because it comes from the north-east region.
  • In the southern hemisphere, it is called south-east trade winds. Because it comes from the south-east region.


  • The winds that blow between 30° to 60° latitude are called westerlies.
  • This is named so because the location is the west. They move west to the east direction in both the hemispheres.


  • These winds blow between 60° to 90° latitude.
  • They are called Polar winds because they blow in polar areas.
  • They are called easterlies because the location of origin is east. They move from east to west direction.

Why does the wind blow from high pressure to the low-pressure area and why they move in a curvy nature between the latitudes are discussed in ‘Pressure System’ and ‘Coriolis Force’ respectively? Please read that post for the clarification of the concepts.

Related Post

Pressure System (Basics of Geography)

Coriolis Force (Basics of Geography)