Importance of wind speed & direction

and how it affects us

Wind is an important element when it comes to current weather and predicting future forecasts

We all know and have heard of wind speeds. People who live close to the sea, especially, are aware of wind speeds and how it affects their lives. For most of you living in big cities, wind speed is often confused with the breeze and experienced mostly during rains and in case of other natural calamities. Wind speed is quite simply the speed at which wind moves in the atmosphere. The speed of wind can be measured and have far-reaching effects in our lives.

The wind speed is important for many things like weather forecasting, flying, maritime operations, construction, etc. High wind speeds can have unpleasant and unwanted side effects, while low wind speed is almost always welcome during hot and sticker summer months. Strong winds are referred to as gales, hurricanes, typhoons, etc., depending on their speed and intensity. Wind speeds are measured using an anemometer.


Why is wind speed and direction important?

Wind speed and direction are important for monitoring and predicting weather patterns and global climate. Wind speed and direction have numerous impacts on surface water. These parameters affect evaporation rates, mixing of surface waters, and the development of seiches and storm surges. Each of these processes has dramatic effects on water quality and water level.



How is wind speed and direction measured?

Wind speed is typically reported in miles per hour, knots, or meters per second. One mile per hour is equal to 0.45 meters per second, and 0.87 knots.

Wind direction is typically reported in degrees and describes the direction from which the wind emanates. A direction of 0 degrees is due North on a compass, and 180 degrees is due South. A direction of 270 degrees would indicate a wind blowing in from the west.


Effects on construction sites

A wide variety of construction projects may be damaged by snow, ice, extreme cold, heavy seas, strong winds, hurricanes, typhoons, tornadoes, torrential rain, flooding or wildfires/bushfires. Some weather risks are obvious, and precautions are taken against damage as a matter of course, while others may surprise those managing construction sites.

 may be particularly vulnerable to a certain type of weather damage for only a limited period, it may be tempting to take no special precautions and hope that an adverse weather event does not happen until the period of vulnerability has passed. However construction best-practice is based on risk awareness and the implementation of suitable precautions to minimize the risk of damage as a result of damaging events during the life of a project.


Managing weather risk in construction sites

Risk management is important in construction since there are unexpected events, even in the best-managed projects. The weather is one of the main risks in construction, and ignoring it can have severe consequences. For example, if a tower crane lifting a heavy load collapses due to a gust of wind, the lives of workers are threatened, and the material damage can be severe. A major accident can also have legal consequences for developers and contractors and human and financial losses.


How to measure wind speed accurately

For a science that is constantly in the lives of everyday folk, wind speed measurement certainly manages to keep out of the public eye. The measuring of wind speed happens to be an important part of several everyday technologies. Of course, there is meteorology, the measuring of weather phenomena, that wholly depends on the gauging of wind speed. Still, a surprising number of other everyday specialties depend on wind speed measurements too, chief among them being aviation and marine and navigation, stability management in skyscrapers, environmental sciences, and disaster management. Wind measurement is done with a device known as a wind anemometer.


Source: Navis WL 12/WS Long Range Wireless Cup Anemometer


  • Cup Anemometers

Cup anemometers, these simple devices, are remarkably accurate machines today; nevertheless, the best examples can approach a 99% accuracy level. But the cup anemometer is still a mechanical technology that is prone to maintenance lubrication issues, friction, mechanical damage, and ice formation. There are competing technologies that attempt to eliminate the problems seen in mechanical design. One of the most popular wind anemometer technologies in use today is the ultrasonic kind. The cup anemometer is the most widely-used standard in wind speed measurement around the world. It is inexpensive to make and functions with an accuracy rating well above 90%, even in the cheaper examples. Determining the level of accuracy called for in a cup anemometer depends on the kind of application it is intended for. Some of the mass-produced, poorly calibrated models found installed on a wind turbine or used for certain meteorology purposes and function capably with an error margin that hovers around 10%.


Source: CEM DT-8880 Hot Wire Anemometer


  • Hotwire Anemometers

You may have your reasons for wanting a hotwire anemometer. Whatever your reason is, be it a professional or amateur interest in measuring the wind, you need to know if a hot wire type is for you and if there are any other great anemometer options for you to consider.

We all have an idea of what anemometers are supposed to be used for. If you need or simply what to be updated with weather details, an anemometer is vital. This is the most reliable instrument when it comes to setting down precise wind speed information. A good anemometer can either present information on pressure or velocity. Some units can offer you information on both.

Anemometers do not come in a single shape and size. There are many different options, but one popular option is the hot wire kind. You can imagine from its name that it is one anemometer that uses a hot wire. When the wind blows through the hotwire, the wire cools, which results in a variation in electrical resistance.

Hotwire anemometers are a bit fragile, though. You could damage your unit if you aren’t careful. In most cases, though, the precision and prompt readings of this device more than makeup for its delicate nature.


Source: HY-WDC62E Ultrasonic Mini Weather Station


  • Ultrasonic Anemometers

The ultrasonic anemometer was developed in the 1970s. It uses ultrasonic sound waves to determine instantaneous wind speed by measuring how many sound waves traveling between a pair of transducers are sped up or slowed down by the wind’s effect. Sonic anemometers can take measurements with the excellent temporal resolution, 20 Hz or better, which makes them well suited for turbulence measurements. The lack of moving parts makes it appropriate for long-term use in exposed automated weather stations and weather buoys. The accuracy and reliability of traditional cup-and-vane anemometers are adversely affected by salty air or large amounts of dust.

An ultrasonic anemometer (or sonic anemometer) measures linear components of the wind vector by determining the effect of the wind on transit times of acoustic pulses transmitted in opposite directions across known paths. It operates on the principle that the propagation velocity of a sound wave in a moving medium is equal to the velocity of sound concerning the medium-plus the velocity of the medium. The wind velocity vector is determined by measuring the wind speed along three independent linear paths, for example, three orthogonal paths. The ultrasonic anemometer is an ideal instrument with the advantages of a short time constant and an absence of moving mechanical parts.


Source: Benetech GM8902 Digital Air Flow Vane Anemometer


  • Vane Anemometers

The vane anemometer is a standard wind speed meter that is now commonly used, not only outdoors but also indoors. Easy handling makes it possible to measure airspeed quickly using the impeller anemometer. In addition to this, many instruments also have features enabling volume flow and temperatures to be recorded. This enables an even easier analysis of the data and their comparison.

A vane anemometer is used for measuring the velocity and volumetric flow rate of air grills in residential buildings and utility. Possibly in combination with a measuring cone. The speed of the rotating vane of the anemometer is converted into electric  power, which is transferred into airspeed.


How does a handheld anemometer work?

A handheld anemometer is a very reliable device that can help anyone do their wind readings. Conveniently, you can easily slip it inside your pocket. Developed during the 15th century, anemometers of today have very much improved since then. The term “anemometer” is from the Greek word “anemos,” which means “wind”.


The history of anemometers

The first anemometers appeared in Italy and Northern Europe before spreading to the Americas. They were simple and ingeniously designed. It composed of a single flat disc that would shake by the motion of the winds. By looking at the disc’s inclination, the people could determine the degree of the wind pressure. By the mid 19th century, more sophisticated anemometers were being used as cups were attached to the ends of a wind vane. When the wind rose, it would be caught by the cups making the vane turn. The number revolutions of the vane were recorded for readings. This kind of anemometer is still being used today. A similar version of this type spins like a windmill (vertically) instead of a traditional vertical spinning.

Modern anemometers are awe-inspiring devices that can give you accurate wind readings on an LCD. They use the wind to make the readings and the movement of sound waves, the detection of particles through laser beams, and the measurement of thermal energy.



What can an anemometer do?

The anemometer is a device used to measure the speed of the wind. Modern anemometers measure not only wind speed but also different aspects of the wind: humidity, temperature, and pressure. Anemometers are usually used in weather stations for meteorological purposes.

A handheld anemometer or personal anemometer is a small device, usually only a few inches in length width, that can measure wind very accurately (within %5). Most handheld anemometers are capable of performing the following:

  • Measures wind speed (measures up to 100mph easily) in mpg, km/h, m/s or Knots
  • Read wind chill and temperature in Fahrenheit and Celsius
  • Easily display wind readings
  • Not easily affected by strong wind and sudden change of direction

Some personal anemometers have additional features to make the device more appealing. Some brands sell anemometers with a waterproof casing and can float on water. Most handheld anemometers are built not to be affected by the changing directions of strong gusts of wind.


Who can benefit from using a handheld anemometer?

The handheld anemometer is a very convenient device for anyone who needs wind readings. Some examples of people who benefit from this kind of anemometer are engineers who take kite flying seriously, windsurfers, and climbers.

Both professionals and amateurs can benefit from using a handheld anemometer. Since it is handy weather watchers can easily make their weather forecast confidently.



The handheld anemometer can be helpful both for industrial use and for research engineers, climbers, and windsurfers. Usually, a handheld Anemometer during the kite-flying festival for detecting wind speed. Another usage is for environmental measurements in industrial environments.

 You can view all of our anemometers available over here.