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Can Wind Carry Sound?



Wind itself does not carry sound.

Wind describes the phenomenon of air moving due to the difference between high and low pressure.  Sound can only travel within a medium. Saying wind carries sound is like saying entropy carries sound. Wind is an occurrence of nature– not a medium in itself. It is incorrect to say that sound travels through wind. It is correct to say that wind can create sound, but this by disturbing solid matter. However, sound does carry through the matter that wind disturbs: air. [1]

The Nature of Sound

There are two kinds of energy waves. Electromagnetic waves and mechanical waves. Electromagnetic waves are essentially the different kinds of waves on the electromagnetic spectrum. This includes radio-waves, microwaves, gamma-waves, and light. These do not need a medium to travel through. Mechanical waves are those that do require a medium. Sound is an example of a mechanical wave. It needs some sort of medium to travel through. For the most part, sound travels through air. Meaning the medium would be the different gasses that make up the air. [2]

Wind and Sound

Even if the wind in itself cannot be a medium for sound, it can affect the way sound travels. Like all other mechanical waves, sound will travel better in a constant, steady medium. This is why sounds can carry well on a still day. Wind, by its very nature, disrupts the medium of air. This effectively “scrambles” the wave and significantly limits its ability to travel. You can observe this whenever you have to shout over the wind for people nearby to hear and understand you. The rapidly moving air particles are creating a severely inopportune medium for sound to travel through. The gasses in the air are flowing and swirling around and will promise to garble your words.  [3]



[1] Cornell University
Ask Uncle Ezra

[2 ]
Types of Waves

[3]Physics Department University of Texas at El Paso
Atmospheric Effects on the Speed of Sound

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