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The Horse Latitudes
Question: What is the origin of the word for the currents called the horse latitude wind currents.
Answer:According to the American Meteorological Society's Glossary of Meteorology (1954), the horse latitudes are the belts of latitude over the oceans from 30 to 35 degrees north and south where winds are generally light and the weather hot and dry.
The regions mark the normal locations of the global subtropical high pressure systems such as the Bermuda High, moving a few degrees north or south of their position as the sun moves in the sky with the seasons.
The name apparently comes from the days of sailing ships when becalmed ships were caught in the light and variable winds which characterize these regions. When the water supplies ran low aboard ship due to the longer travel times, many ships heading to the New World found it necessary to throw horses in their cargo overboard to conserve water for the crew.
Not a pleasant reason for the name, but one that would remind mariners to steer clear of the region.
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The Weather Doctor's Weather Almanac The Horse Latitudes
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