Measuring wind seems like quite the task, especially as it isn’t a force that you can see with your eyes or any vision-enhancing tools. Still, since detecting wind speed is an essential aspect of meteorology as well as other activities, such as sailing, anemometers are quite useful.
As one of the favorite tools of meteorologists and outdoor enthusiasts alike, an anemometer can quickly translate received wind into a measurement that you can easily see and understand.
How Do You Read an Anemometer?
When reading anemometers, the first thing to consider is the type of anemometer you have. Specific designs will need to be read in different ways. Although mechanical models, also known as digital anemometers, seem to be the most popular, there are a couple of other versions, as well.
These models are the most popular as they are very accurate and can provide a reading within a matter of seconds. You’ll also find that they are incredibly user-friendly and compact enough to keep in a pocket or a tool bag for when you head outside.
With a digital anemometer, you’ll notice that there is a fan at the top of the unit or attached separately to the digital display. When the fan is triggered by wind, it will spin, which then powers a small generator in the base of the unit. Depending on how quickly the fan is spinning, the generator will then provide a readout of the Beaufort scale measurement as well as the wind speed.
One of the most convenient features of digital anemometers is that you can opt to choose from different measurements depending on your needs. You’ll have the option to view wind speeds in miles per hour, kilometers per hour, knots, feet per minute, meters per second, and the Beaufort scale itself.
Reading the digital display on these models is much easier than with another type, known as manual cup anemometers.
Manual Cup Anemometers
If you’ve ever taken a science class in the past, you’ve likely gotten your hands onto one of these devices or made one yourself. There are several easy-to-follow tutorials that you can use to make this wind measurement tool using a few household objects.
People sometimes prefer manual models because they are more authentic, and some suggest they are more accurate than digital anemometers; however, there is some math involved with calculating wind speeds.
First, you will need to determine the distance the cups will have to travel to make a full rotation around the axis, multiply that figure by two, and then multiply the value by pi. Once you have a final number, you will then want to convert it to meters or feet, depending on your preference.
While allowing the wind to turn the cups on the top of the anemometer manually, you will need to count the number of rotations it makes in a minute and then multiply the distance traveled by the total rotations.
After this calculation, you will have the total amount of feet per minute or meters per minute that the wind is traveling. If working with kilometers, you will want to take this value and multiply it by 60, then divide by 1000 (if measured in meters) to get your wind speed in kilometers per hour.
As the most technologically advanced models that you can get your hands on, ultrasonic anemometers are ideal for measuring wind speeds by using high-frequency sounds.
Within the base unit, there are a few sound transmitters that will shoot high-frequency sound to receivers when the wind blows. The circuits within the anemometer then calculate how long it takes for the sound to be shot from the transmitter to the receiver. Depending on the movement of the wind and its speed, the ultrasonic anemometers will provide you with a particular reading.
If you are someone who works in a professional field or requires wind measurements daily, it could be a good idea to invest in an ultrasonic model. They are far less likely to malfunction or fail, and they are also ideal for areas that are exposed to different types of severe weather, such as extreme freezing.
Another advantage of these models is that they are the most accurate on the market, especially if you live in an area that is prone to high winds. The higher the winds, the more accurate the readings will be, even when compared to digital handheld anemometers.
Choosing the Right Anemometer
Although ultrasonic anemometers are the most accurate, they might not be the best option depending on your uses and how often you intend to measure the wind. With that said, it is a great idea to look into some of the best handheld anemometer reviews, as they will include experiences from like-minded users.
You’ll want to ensure that you not only choose the most affordable model but one that will give you the most accurate readings for your outdoor activities, as well.
Reading an anemometer is incredibly simple, especially if you have a digital display to put to good use. With the ability to choose from different measurements, you’ll have full control over your measurements for farming, sailing, or even general curiosity.