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Blowing in the Winds

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March 28, 2004, 21:38
Blowing in the Winds
March, a blustery month, is an appropriate time to look at words relating to wind.

Not, mind you, the many names given to particular winds in particular places. There are many of them (bise, bora, chinook, foehn, harmattan, khamsin, levanter, mistral, pampero, Santa Ana, simoom, sirocco, and tramontane, to name a few), but they aren't of particular interest; having mentioned them, we'll move on.

Beginning with a general term:

eolian; aeolian – relating to, caused by, or carried by the wind
[Gk Aeolus, god of the winds {hence, an eponym} and aiolos, quick, changeable]

Aeolian harp – an instrument consisting of an open box over which are stretched strings that sound when the wind passes over them. Also called wind harp.
Time to drink in life's sunshine-time to listen to the Æolian music that the wind of God draws from the human heart- strings around us.
– Jerome K. Jerome, Three Men in a Boat

March 29, 2004, 19:47
ventifact – a stone that has been shaped, polished, or faceted by wind-driven sand.
[Latin ventus, wind + (arti)fact]
On sol 80, which ended at 10:23 a.m. PST on March 25, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit repeated overnight measurements of ... two targets on the rock "Mazatzal." ... Mazatzal is one of an apparent class of "light-toned rocks," which may be common in the area where Spirit landed ... This rock appears to be a "ventifact," which means it may have been carved by the steady winds that scientists know come from the northwest into the top area of this crater rim.
noticias.info (Comunicados de Prensa), Spain, Mar 26, 2004

March 30, 2004, 22:18
williwaw – sudden gust of wind; a squall
(also: a violent gust of cold wind blowing seaward from a mountainous coast, esp. in the Straits of Magellan)
The ferocity of the land apparently spawned similarly forbidding weather. For some strange meteorological reason, savage, tornadolike downdrafts periodically swooped down from the heights above and fairly exploded when they struck the water, whipping the seas close inshore into a frenzy of spindrift and froth. Hussey thought they were the "williwaws," sudden bursts of wind peculiar to coastal areas in polar regions. [30 pages later] During most of July the weather was comparatively reasonable, and only on a few occasions did the familiar williwaws shriek down from the cliffs.
– Alfred Lansing, Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage

April 01, 2004, 10:40
eluvium – residual deposits of soil, dust, and rock particles produced by the action of the wind
[Latin luere to wash out]

But take care not to confuse this similar words, not pertaining to wind:
elute– to extract one material from another, esp. by a solvent
elutriate – to purify, separate, or remove (ore, for example) by washing, decanting, and settling 2. to wash away the lighter or finer particles of
effluvium – 1. an emanation or exhalation (usu. invisible, e.g., vapor or gas) 2. a byproduct or residue; waste; or, the smelly fumes of by waste or decaying matter 3. an impalpable emanation; an aura
[Latin effluere to flow out]
alluvium – sediment deposited by flowing water, as in a riverbed, flood plain, or delta
alluvion – 1. same as 'alluvium' 2. the flow of water against a shore or bank 3. inundation by water; flood
[Latin alluere, to wash against: ad-, ad- + -luere, to wash]
April 02, 2004, 10:30
windrow – 1. a row, as of leaves or snow, heaped up by the wind. 2. a long row of cut hay or grain left to dry in a field before being bundled. verb: to arrange into a windrow
On March 26, 2003, two days of appalling weather had virtually halted the U.S. Army's drive toward Baghdad. Dust lay drifted in windrows inside every tent, and the division's 260 helicopters looked like they had been dipped in milk chocolate.
– Rick Atkinson, The Long, Blinding Road to War, Washington Post, March 7, 2004

Before planting tree seedlings, the traditional site preparation method is to push the brush and unwanted trees into windrows. Topsoil may also be collected in the windrow along with the brush. The windrow is then often burned. "Windrowing can have deleterious effects on many of our East Texas sites, " Taylor said.
– Robert Burns, Extension Education Helps Texans Make Forests a Renewable Resource, AgNews (Texas A&M University Agricultural Program), March 16, 2004

April 02, 2004, 16:08
I grew up on a farm, where we raised oats, and I played amongst the windrows in the summer heat. We had several machines known as windrowers; they were manufactured by Massey-Ferguson. Strange, insectoid contraptions.
April 03, 2004, 12:18
spindrift – windblown sea spray. Also called spoondrift.
[Scots "spenedrift: spene (variant of obs. spoon to run before the wind) + drift]
The sun is a bright smudge, low in the sky underneath a pair of bruise-coloured purple clouds. You can see snow whipping off the far peaks as spindrift.
– Battling it out with the bootnecks: ... Sam Leith joins the Royal Marines for Arctic training in Norway,
The Telegraph, March 4, 2004

April 04, 2004, 13:28
anabatic – of or relating to rising wind currents
[Gk anabatikos, skilled in mounting, from anabainein, to rise, from ana- + bainein, to go]

katabatic – of or relating to a cold flow of air traveling downward: a katabatic wind.
August 10, 2010, 22:01
Reviving a thread
Above Wordcrafter posted about williwaws with an excerpt from a book about Ernest Shackleton. Today I learned of an add Mr. Shackleton placed while searching for a crew for his 1914 expedition to Antarctica.

"Men wanted for hazardous journey. Small wages, bitter cold, long months of complete darkness, constant danger, safe return doubtful. Honor and recognition in case of success."

He received nearly 5,000 applicants, including three women!
August 11, 2010, 01:05
That reminds me of the famous advert for Pony Express riders from around 1860:
Wanted: Young, skinny, wiry fellows not over eighteen. Must be expert riders, willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred.

Build a man a fire and he's warm for a day. Set a man on fire and he's warm for the rest of his life.