The doldrums is a term used by sailors to describe the parts of the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean that have very little or no wind at all. Although this isn’t a major problem for today’s ships, it was a major problem for the sailing ships of the past. Amazingly, sailors could get stuck in the doldrums for weeks at a time waiting for enough wind to power their ship. Let’s take a look at where this phenomenon occurs and what causes it.
Where are the doldrums located?
The doldrums are located just north of the equator, but they can be experienced from around 5 degrees north of the Equator to about 5 degrees south.
What causes the doldrums?
The doldrums are caused by a low pressure area that is located near the equator. This low pressure occurs because of the sunlight that heats the equator. This causes the air to rise high in the atmosphere instead of blowing horizontally.
Did you know?
The region began to be called the doldrums in the 18th century. At the time the word doldrums meant dull, sluggish or listless.
Although it is best known for the long stretches without wind this region is also the starting point for many hurricanes and cyclones.