Wind speed and wind direction are two important factors in safe and efficient operations and services. Accurate and predictable response to changing wind conditions is critical to safe activities from recreational sports like sailing, to control of large membrane roofs, crop dusting, water feature controls and more. Improvements in technology continues to create more opportunities to incorporate wind speed and wind direction information into controls and procedures.

Perhaps the most recognizable wind speed and wind direction indicator is the wind sock. Even with all the technology available today, every airfield has one. They require no power and clearly indicate conditions at all times. Wind socks are made of durable weather resistant fabric and are designed like funnels. The wide open end captures wind and the tail of the sock hangs down when there is no wind. But, wind socks have limitations. They do not provide precise wind speed and direction information, and they are only indicators, meaning they cannot automatically control systems and equipment.

Modern wind speed and wind direction sensors take the same information available to a wind sock, and translate it into information we can use to precisely monitor, and respond to, changing wind conditions. Computers and controllers have taken this further and allow us to integrate the information from wind sensors into programs that will log the data for analysis and even allow us to regulate machinery in response to the wind.

Wind energy is an important part of our global energy future. Wind turbines are reaching hub heights of over 400 feet and are more powerful than ever. Yet, wind turbines still need to be controlled so they both point directly into the wind, and don’t over-rotate (spin too fast) in high winds. Wind speed and direction sensors are used to transmit data to controls that ensure wind turbines operate at peak efficiency and operate safely.

Wind speed and direction sensors are used for control and notification of many systems. They are used to control water features and fountains so they do not spray water where it is not wanted. Wind speed and direction indicators may be used automatically to control awnings, membrane roofs, and other building automation systems.

Wind alarms use wind speed and direction sensors for automatic control and notification during threshold wind events. They are used in the agriculture, heavy equipment, building automation and recreation industries. Wind alarms are even used to improve marine wildlife habitats and control seaweed.

The many uses of wind speed and direction sensors and wind alarms is limited only by our imaginations. The information allows us to improve the environment for wildlife, grow crops more efficiently, control fountains from spraying us as we walk by, and even know when the conditions are right to go boating.

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