There are many "popular" ways to determine such environmental parameters as wind speed and direction. However, researchers who professionally deal with these issues use a special device for such purposes - an anemometer.
The invention of the device
The need for accurate measurement of the speed and direction of the wind has existed among mankind for a long time in connection with a wide variety of activities. For example, such a need existed among sailors traveling on sailing ships who wanted to predict the direction and speed of their ships.
As a result, in an effort to solve this problem, in 1450 the Italian Leon Battista Alberti designed the first prototype of the modern anemometer, which was a disk that had to be fixed on an axis located perpendicular to the wind. This position of the disk in the presence of wind caused its rotation, which, in turn, determined the speed of movement of air currents.
Subsequently, researchers have repeatedly made attempts to improve this design. So, in 1667, the English scientist Robert Hooke, who was engaged in natural sciences, created an anemometer similar in principle of operation, therefore he is sometimes incorrectly called the inventor of this device.
Over time, the design of instruments designed to determine the speed and direction of the wind has been modified and improved. In 1846, the Irishman John Robinson created one of the types of instruments that are still used by modern scientists today - the cup anemometer. It was a structure with four bowls located on a vertical axis. The blowing wind caused the bowls to rotate, and the speed of this rotation made it possible to measure the speed of the air flow. Subsequently, the four-cup design was replaced by a three-cup design, since it made it possible to reduce the error in the instrument readings.
Another type of anemometer used by modern scientists is a thermal anemometer, the principle of which is based on a change in the temperature of a heated metal filament under the influence of an air flow. The degree of its cooling as a result of this effect serves as the basis for measuring the speed and direction of the wind.
Finally, the third most common type of instrument today is the ultrasonic anemometer, which was developed in 1904 by geologist Andreas Flech. It measures the basic parameters of the air flow depending on the change in the speed of sound under the current environmental conditions. At the same time, ultrasonic anemometers have the widest range of capabilities in comparison with other types of devices: they allow you to measure not only the speed and direction of the wind, but also its temperature, humidity and other parameters.