GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — While walking outside during the winter months, there’s nothing more bone-chilling and creepy than howling wind. Which brings to the question, why does the wind howl?

Noise is created by sound waves. As sound waves shrink or expand, different noises are created. These changes in sound waves can sometimes be heard when wind blows through our environment. 

Stronger winds make several different noises, sometimes a whistle and other times howling. There are three different scenarios that can result in wind making sound. 

The first is friction. That occurs when one object slides over another object. For example, when strong winds blow over treetops, friction is created. The higher the wind, the stronger the friction, the louder the sound. For this particular situation, the wind creates either a whistling sound or a swoosh. 

Strong winds can also force objects to fall off trees or buildings. As the wind blows around the falling object, it splits in half, which alters sound waves. Large falling objects create a whistle. At the beginning, this whistle has a very high pitch, but as the object makes it closer to the ground, the pitch is very low. Howling of wind can also be created through the rubbing of leaves, plants, and crops, especially during the fall and winter months.

The wind uses all of these different environmental objects almost like instruments to create new sounds. Next time you’re outside, close your eyes and listen to the sounds around you. You may be able to hear the wind creating different sounds. That’s all for now…

Next week’s episode: Where do ocean waves come from?