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What Are the Different Techniques for Wind Speed Measurement?

By C.B. Fox
Updated May 16, 2024
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There are a number of different methods of wind speed measurement, and none of the tools used are particularly complex. They rely on mathematical formulas that are based on how the wind is manipulating the measurement device. Anemometers, wind socks, and visual observation are all used to measure wind speed.

The most common device used for wind speed measurement is called an anemometer. This device is made up of a ring of small cups that can be pushed by the wind, causing the cups to move in a circle. The speed of the revolutions can be used to determine the speed of the wind, though a counter is needed to get an accurate measure of the number of revolutions per minute that occur too quickly for the eye to accurately determine. These simple tools are often used on houses as a part of a weather vane, which shows the direction from which the wind is blowing.

Another common tool for wind speed measurement is the wind sock. These devices are made of a tube, which is attached to a pole. The tube is wider at one end than the other, and the wind will push the tube around so that the wide end is facing the direction from which the the wind is coming. It is possible to make a wind speed measurement by observing the movement of the wind sock. A wind sock that is flapping gently indicates that there is a small breeze, while one that is held straight out indicates a strong wind.

Wind speed can be measured in miles or kilometers per hour. Other wind speed measurement scales, however, have been developed. The Beaufort scale, for example, was developed in 1805. It categorizes wind speed into 12 different levels, each of which correspond to actual wind speeds.

The Fujita Scale is a measurement of the force of the winds in a tornado. The tornado is rated on a scale of 0 to 6 and by the type of damage it does to the area in which it occurs. A 1 on the Fujita Scale indicates moderate damage to buildings in the area, while a tornado that is rated a 5 can lift entire houses into the air and seriously damage sturdy buildings.

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