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2

Air is affected by friction. A brief search of AMS journals shows over 14,000 times friction is mentioned. How it is manifested in the equations that describe the atmosphere is complicated. Let's think of wind as 'air moving' or perhaps space moving which air occupies. At some point, called the roughness length, the wind is 0 m/s (or knots or mph). If such a ...


5

Some excellent answers are already available, but they are all examining a single tree in isolation, as if putting a tree to a wind tunnel to see whether it snaps or not. That's not how every trees species handles winds. At the latitudes I'm used to, which is the temperate climate of Europe, the fastest winds blow over elevated terrain which is often ...


8

The general claim seems to be incorrect: This phenomenon is independent of type and size of the tree. Based on other answers, the claims around this appear to be that the scale of the tree doesn't matter. For example the sciencemag.org article referenced in David Hammon's answer talks about experiments around different thicknesses of wood: As one might ...


3

One important additional factor is that the stress (and damage) isn't linear. A very basic idea is that energy is velocity squared. But Prahl et. al. 2008 included some review of the theories on damage from winds and the two typical theories: wind loads, which are approximately proportional to the exerted pressure and, hence, to the square of the wind ...


9

As the other answer points out, this is very likely an evolutionary adaptation that balances sturdiness with unnecessary overengineering. From a physics perspective, the relatively constant breaking strength of a tree is related to allometry, which is the relationship among the tree's proportions as it grows. A young tree is short and thin, with relatively ...


37

Why do trees break at the same wind speed? Image source: Wikimedia Commons Note that in the above image, that almost all of the trees had their tops snapped off. This claim is about tree's being snapped in two and is not about trees falling over or being uprooted. This claim is approximately valid for many species of trees. Apparently oaks can withstand ...


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