Beaufort Scale - Explained
What is the Beaufort Scale?
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What is the Beaufort Scale?
The Beaufort wind force scale was devised in 1805 by Commander Francis Beaufort of the British navy as a tool for observing and classifying wind force at sea.
How was the Beaufort Wind Scale Developed?
Initially, it was based on the effect of wind on a fully equipped man-of-war, but later in 1838, it became a requirement for log entries in all the ships belonging to the Royal Navy fleet. It was much later adopted by the International Meteorological Committee for international use in weather telegraphy after it was altered to incorporate the observations of the state of the sea and phenomena on land as criteria. The original Beaufort scale was calibrated based on Beaufort's assessment of the effects that wind had on a fully-rigged man-of-war. He came up with 13 states of wind force on his vessel and then ranked them from 0 to 12. The scale, however, did not use the speed of wind in its measurements and in the 20th-century efforts were made to try and correlate the scale and speed of the wind. In 1912, such an attempt was made by the International Commission for Weather Telegraphers, but it was unfortunately interrupted by World War 1. Then in 1921, G.C. Simpson was requested to formulate various equivalents, and in 1926, they were accepted by the committee. The International Meteorological Committee in 1939, adopted a table of values which referred to an anemometer placed at the height of 6 meters or 20 feet. However, the official weather services of the United States and Great Britain did not immediately accept this new table since they used an earlier scale that referred to an anemometer placed at the height of 11 meters or 36 feet. In 1955, the US weather bureau increased the Beaufort scale values from 12 to 17. Nowadays, professional meteorologists rarely use this scale since it has been replaced by methods of determining wind speeds that are more objective such as the use of anemometers and the tracking of wind echoes using Doppler radar. When estimating the characteristics of wind over a large area, the Beaufort scale comes in handy. It is also used to determine wind force in places with no wind instruments or to measure the effects of different velocities of wind on objects on land or sea.