Wind streak is a collective term for a variety of aeolian features that display distinctive albedo surface patterns. Wind streaks have been used to map near-surface winds and to estimate atmospheric circulation patterns on Mars and Venus. However, because wind streaks have been studied mostly on Mars and Venus, much of the knowledge regarding the mechanism and time frame of their formation and their relationship to the atmospheric circulation cannot be verified. This study aims to validate previous studies' results by a comparison of real and modeled wind data with wind streak orientations as measured from remote-sensing images. Orientations of Earth wind streaks were statistically correlated to resultant drift direction (RDD) values calculated from reanalysis and wind data from 621 weather stations. The results showed good agreement between wind streak orientations and reanalysis RDD (r = 0.78). A moderate correlation was found between the wind streak orientations and the weather station data (r = 0.47); a similar trend was revealed on a regional scale when the analysis was performed by continent, with r ranging from 0.641 in North America to 0.922 in Antarctica. At sites where wind streak orientations did not correspond to the RDDs (i.e., a difference of 45°), seasonal and diurnal variations in the wind flow were found to be responsible for deviation from the global pattern. The study thus confirms that Earth wind streaks were formed by the present wind regime and they are indeed indicative of the long-term prevailing wind direction on global and regional scales.
- climate model