Photo of Bluebell Woods in Sussex Photo of Bluebell Woods in Sussex

What is a Wind Shadow?

A wind shadow is a place where the wind doesn’t reach.

There is a calm, sheltered zone on the downwind side of all obstacles, a place where the wind misses altogether.

Image Credit

There are lots of interesting wind shadows that few people notice.

Have a look at the photo below.

The water lies in a dip we can find on all sandy beaches, known as the ‘trough’. It sits between sand bars.

If you look at the edges of the water, you’ll see a thin strip that has a different colour. (It is highlighted in the photo at the top.)

This is the still water that marks the ‘wind shadow’, the zone where the wind doesn’t reach.

There is a thin wind shadow at the very edge of all lakes, puddles, ponds, rivers and seas. 

Something few people realise is that there is also wind shadow on the upwind side of obstacles like trees and buildings, as well as the downwind side.

Every obstacle, eg. a tree or a building, will create two wind shadows: one on the side wind comes from and another on the opposite side:

Illustration by Neil Gower and taken from the book Wild Signs and Star Paths

You might also enjoy:

The Secret World of Weather

How to Read Water