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Digital Subscriptions > Outdoor Swimmer > November 19 > Understanding Wind

Understanding Wind

Author William Thomson explores what makes the wind and how it affects swimming conditions.

So far in this series we have learnt what to expect from different phases of the tide, and the currents it creates. Now we will move away from the hydrosphere and explore the atmosphere, because the two are inextricably linked.

Starting with the theory, what actually makes wind? Wind is the movement of air from areas of high pressure [where cold air is sinking] to areas of low pressure [where warm air is rising]. The wind this process creates has a massive effect on the seas in which we swim, and the two variables you need to consider are speed and direction. While stronger winds definitely have the potential to create rougher seas, in coastal waters the direction it blows is perhaps even more significant. Cross-shore, on-shore or off-shore winds shape very different seas.

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About Outdoor Swimmer

Hello November – log fires, bobble hats and serene autumn swimming. Crisp water, falling leaves and a sense of calm before the icy thrill of winter, autumn is one of my favourite times of the year to swim. If you want to try extending your swimming season this year, a little bit of neoprene can go a long way – read our reviews of hats, gloves, socks and accessories in this month's Tried & Tested gear guide. In this issue we explore the benefits of cold water swimming on mental health. In 'Unsung Heroes' we celebrate wild swimmers, many of whom use their daily dip to help combat depression, grief and pain. And swim guide Pete Kelly takes a group of swimmers from mental health charity Growing Well for a cold water dip in Windermere. As always, this issue brings you training advice, destination and event reports, stunning swim photography and the most comprehensive UK and international event listings to help you plan your aquatic adventures.