Beaufort Wind Force Scale
scale (pronounced bow fort) is an empirical measure for
describing wind speed. The terms it defines are used by
meteorologists worldwide. Force 0 is calm, no wind. From there,
it describes the various breezes, gales and storms, culminating
in the Force 12 hurricane, which has winds of 75 mph or more.
Admiral Sir Francis Beaufort was a hydrographer and top
administrator in the British Navy. Sea captains used different
terms to describe wind conditions, so, in 1805, Beaufort
established a standard scale. It was originally based on
observations of how the wind affected the sails on a ship. The
Royal Navy required that the terms be used for ship log entries.
The invention of the cup anemometer in 1846 resulted in the
Beaufort Scale being expanded to include actual wind speeds.
Years later, the steam engine ushered in the demise of sailing
ships, so sea conditions were substituted for sail conditions.
The scale was later expanded to show conditions on land.
Admiral Beaufortís original scale included sail setting
guidelines, so we followed his example using a 40 foot sloop.
Insets suggest sail settings and boat handling recommendations
for each force. They also include safety recommendations.
This poster cites the official description of each wind
force, but goes beyond that to show how it impacts both land and
sea. The dramatic illustrations show increasingly powerful winds
and waves systemically destroying a summer beach cottage and
tearing off large sections of the cliff, severely eroding the
shoreline. The terrifying sea conditions really put the little
sloop in harmís way.
Knowledge of these visual standards makes it possible for
anyone to determine wind speed based solely on observation, just
like the master mariners of yesteryear. This is the first time
that this important information has ever been presented in such
detail in any media. It is an essential reference chart for
meteorologists, seamen or anyone else who wants or needs to know
how to identify weather conditions.
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