Everyday Math

Math and the Outdoors

How is wind speed measured?

Wind speed is most often measured using an anemometer. The simplest ones are made with cup-shaped devices that spin and catch the winds. The number of spins translates into an approximate value for the wind speed. The more accurate electronic anemometer has a free-moving turbine suspended in the middle of the instrument that, when held correctly, measures the wind speed. The speed of the turbine sensed by an infrared light relays the signal to an electrical circuit. From there, the wind speed is digitally displayed.


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