The sun makes wind

I thought, "Wow! You can actually feel the sun making wind." A brief moment after the sun broke from behind a cloud and I felt the warmth on my skin, I also felt and heard the increased movement of air over my skin and over Enchanted Rock. I thought about how much energy was hitting that granite dome, Enchanted Rock, Fredericksburg, Texas. Megawatts of solar energy, just in my immediate area. Countless millions of watts of energy bathing the whole rock. The transformation of the rock to a slightly warmer state, as the sun would break from behind a cloud, caused the air in contact with the rock to warm--and rise--so that just a second or two after I felt the sun break from behind a cloud, I also felt and heard the wind pick up, just a bit. As another cloud moved to block the sun, the wind died down. Then the phenomenon repeated, as that cloud moved on. It took a few cycles of sun and shade, wind and relative calm, for me to make the connection and realize what was happening.

Quiet, a relatively cool surface and warm sun, (mid-morning in spring), partly cloudy day, and a slight wind, (enough to keep the clouds comming and going, but not too much that the effect is drowned out), create the optimum conditions for experiencing this, I think.

I wonder if it is possible to feel the sun making wind in the middle of a grassy field. On the granite dome, all the solar energy goes to warm the rock, which in turn warms the air. If I were surrounded by green plants, they would have converted the solar energy into chemical energy, sugar, and less would have been available as heat to warm the air.

On top of that granite dome I could feel gravity. As I lay on the cool granite, I felt it pulling me toward the center of the earth. It is an amazing force. How it works I don't know.

Walter Cronkite at the first World Court

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