anemometer
Image Source: Pixabay

A wind gauge as it is known in layman’s terms is a piece of equipment that is used to “gauge” the speed or force of the wind. The device has been around for quite some time, maybe not as high tech as it is now but measuring wind speed or force started around 1450.

There are many different types of wine gauges, each with their own characteristics that are unique to one another.

Below is a quick guide on the different types and why this device is important when it comes to weather forecasting.

Why the Device Is Important?

Every weather station has this instrument, and it is used to detect changes and patterns in wind behaviour. Due to the many weather anomalies nowadays, it is important that we use accurate and precise instruments to predict the weather. Below are some of the branches where these devices are used.

Wind Forecasting

The wind is caused due to the uneven cooling and heating of the Earth’s surface. The temperature difference gives rise to a pressure difference that cause a shift in the air masses. The shift causes the wind to flow from high to low pressure areas. In different parts of the world the magnitude of wind varies including sea breezes, jet streams, local gusts and trade winds. So, to measure the wind energy scientists use an anemometer.

They predict both current and future conditions.

anemometer
Image Source: Pixabay

Wind Speed

Wind speed can be measured using several types of wind gauges such as laser doppler, sonic and cup and anemometers. More these types of anemometers below.

Wind Pressure

To measure wind pressure scientists usually use plate wind gauges. His instrument consists of a flat plate which is compress onto a spring. This set up is used to measure the force.

You can find plate wind gauges usually in high altitude areas and also in places like bridges. They can send out a warning when the wind pressure crosses a certain threshold.

Different type of wind gauges

Wind Anemometers

This type of wind gauge is the simplest and most common type around. The most basic form of a wind gauge is a weather vane or windmill. It has cups connected to a propeller which is used to catch the wind.

The speed at which the propeller spins gives an estimate of the wind speed.

Another type of wind gauge is a hot wire anemometer. This can only measure small wind changes by measuring the temperature of a windblown wire.

Doppler Radar

This type of device was introduced to gauge wind direction and speed during storms. Before doppler radars were introduced it was quite hard to gauge what was happening inside a storm.

LIDAR (Laser Based)

Doppler radar use microwaves while LIDARs use laser beams. Laser beams are used to measure the wind direction and speeds close to the ground.

SODAR (Sound Based)

Similar to laser beams, sonic beams are also used to measure wind speeds close to the ground and is used primarily to calibrate wind turbines.