In down again, and as it sinks, it

In this video lesson, you will learn about air lift.

You will also identify the different ways air is lifted, as well as some of the effects each mechanism has.

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Air Moves

Believe it or not, air is actually a fluid. This is because a fluid is any substance that flows and has an indeterminate shape. This is different from a liquid, which is a specific phase of matter.

All liquids are fluids, but not all fluids are liquids because gases are also fluids! Air, which is a mixture of various molecules in their gaseous phase, definitely flows. Think of something like wind – that’s just air flowing around horizontally.Air also flows vertically, which we call lift. But, air doesn’t lift all by itself – it needs help.

There are four main processes that lift air, known as lifting mechanisms. When air does flow upward, we get some pretty interesting weather processes, like cloud formation, precipitation, thunderstorms, tornadoes and hurricanes.

Orographic Lifting

The first way that air is lifted is through orographic lifting. This is when air is lifted over an obstacle, like a mountain. As air moves across an area, it sometimes runs into obstacles, like mountains, and of course, it has nowhere to go but up! As the air is forced up the side of the mountain, it cools and condenses, which means it gets more compact.Most of the moisture in the air gets forced out as the air condenses, which forms a cloud over the side of the mountain shown below, known as the windward side.

It’s called the windward side because this is the side of the mountain the wind first encounters. The cloud is full of moisture, so it’s also pretty rainy on the windward side.

Wind first encounters the windward side of the mountain.
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