Sukhovei

sukhovei

[sü·kō·vā]
(meteorology)
Literally dry wind; a dry, hot, dusty wind in the south Russian steppes, which blows principally from the east and frequently brings a prolonged drought and crop damage.

Sukhovei

 

a wind with a high air temperature (20°–25°C), a low relative humidity (sometimes less than 30 percent), and a large saturation deficit (more than 20–22 millibars). The sukhovei is observed in the summer in the steppe and semidesert regions of the European USSR (especially in the Caspian Lowland), Kazakhstan, and the southern part of Western Siberia. Similar winds, such as the sirocco and khamsin, occur in other countries with arid climates.

The sukhovei forms on the periphery of an anticyclone occupying a given region. In the European USSR, it is generally an easterly or southerly wind. The wind speed exceeds 5 m/sec, and gusts with speeds of up to 15–20 m/sec, and sometimes more, are observed. Unlike drought, the sukhovei does not last long, ordinarily just a few days. The high temperature and low humidity of the air when the sukhovei is blowing are a result of (1) the local warming of air masses, most often of arctic origin, above the highly heated surface of the earth and (2) the descending motion of air in the anticyclone. In the European USSR, the sukhovei sometimes brings air from Middle Asia or Asia Minor.

The sukhovei intensifies transpiration and evaporation from the soil surface and disturbs heat- and water-exchange processes in plants. In combination with a lack of soil moisture, these effects may lead to the wilting or even the loss of field crops. The harmful influence of the sukhovei can be mitigated through various measures that promote the preservation and accumulation of moisture in the soil. Examples of such measures are the establishment of shelterbelts (seeSHELTERBELT FOR FIELDS), the implementation of snow retention, and the use of true fallow.

REFERENCE

Sukhovei, ikhproiskhozhdenie i bor’ba s nimi. Moscow, 1957.

S. P. KHROMOV