Weather kite gets second wind

Jul 23, 2010
Weather kite gets second wind

The red kite is now a commonly-seen bird of prey in the skies of the south-east, but a specially designed artificial blue kite promises a new way to make weather measurements.

Writing in the Review of Scientific Instruments, scientists at the University of Reading's Department of Meteorology describe a high-tech kite developed to measure wind speed. Kites have long been used to transport instruments up into the lower atmosphere, but rather than just offering a convenient "sky hook", the new approach uses the kite itself to detect the wind variations.

The speed varies the kite line's tension, which can be measured conveniently at the ground, rather than by carrying a sensor up on the kite aloft.

Kieran Walesby, who developed the instrumentation as part of his postgraduate research work at Reading, said: "This technique allows above the ground to be measured without the need for a fixed instrument tower, and is therefore very portable."

The kite used in these experiments was specially built in the Department of Meteorology, and was combined with a tension-measuring system optimised to overcome during long kite flights. The kite line tension is found by measuring the small distortions generated on a metal ring used to anchor the kite, using a set of miniature strain gauges.

Professor Giles Harrison, Professor of who supervised the work, said: "Benjamin Franklin's 1752 experiment is a famous early example of using a kite to measure atmospheric properties. Our system reasserts the kite's value in , through offering an easily-implemented method for investigating lower atmosphere air flows, such as those which transport pollution."

Explore further: Lava slows but still on track to hit Hawaii market

Provided by University of Reading

4 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Invasive snail may damage diet of rare Everglades bird

Feb 04, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Invasive animals often wreak havoc with their feeding habits; however, University of Florida researchers say a huge South American snail is causing problems when it’s the prey rather than ...

Students test 'space postal service' during Foton mission

May 10, 2007

How do you deliver a parcel down to Earth from space without using a rocket engine and fuel" The answer is YES2, a student experiment that was prepared, built and tested at ESA's research and technology centre, ...

Researchers fly a kite for manure recycling

Dec 01, 2008

Researchers at North Wyke Research, and Lancaster and Exeter universities, have come up with an advice system to help farmers recycle manure safely and avoid polluting watercourses.

Recommended for you

Improving forecasts for rain-on-snow flooding

18 hours ago

Many of the worst West Coast winter floods pack a double punch. Heavy rains and melting snow wash down the mountains together to breach riverbanks, wash out roads and flood buildings.

The Greenland Ice Sheet: Now in HD

19 hours ago

The Greenland Ice Sheet is ready for its close-up. The highest-resolution satellite images ever taken of that region are making their debut. And while each individual pixel represents only one moment in time, ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.