"There is a whirlwind in southern Morocco"

The winds discussed here come from Herodotus, though Ondaatje has extended and amplified the list (what more would you expect from a poet?).

Weather Online provides a good database for different winds of the world.

Below is a clip from The English Patient film, where Ralph Fiennes' character gives a version of this paragraph. Interestingly, the movie takes this speech (delivered to Hana, which shows her bond with the patient) and moves it to an intimate moment between Almasy and Katherine Clifton.