trade winds

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Old maritime term, much used in meteorology, indicating the steadiness of direction of the prevailing tropical easterly winds, which blow from subtropical high-pressure areas in latitudes 30–40° north and south, generally north-easterly in the northern hemisphere and south-easterly in the southern hemisphere. They are most nearly constant in latitudes centred on 15° north and south. Climatic conditions associated with the belt vary from fine anticyclonic weather in the poleward and eastern margins, caused by subsidence, to stormier conditions near the equator and western margins, caused by less stable, deeper, moist air.

Subjects: Earth Sciences and Geography.

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